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Italian neuroscientist intends bringing frozen brains back to life

Friday, April 28th, 2017

London: A neuroscientist claims he will be able to “wake up” people who have been cryogenically frozen within three years, by transferring their brains to donor bodies.

Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, has already announced plans to carry out the first human head transplant, an operation which he claims is just 10 months away.

But he is now thinking further ahead, and wants to begin brain transplants within three years.

If the procedures are successful, he believes that frozen brains could be thawed and inserted into a donor, effectively bringing “dead” people back to life.

Hundreds of people who were dying or paralysed have had their bodies or brains cryogenically preserved in the hope that medical science will one day be able to cure their conditions.

Although many experts are sceptical that the brain can be thawed without damage, Professor Canavero said he planned to awaken patients frozen by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, which is based in Arizona.

“As soon as the first human head transplant has taken place, no later than 2018, we will be able to attempt to reawaken the first frozen head,” he said.

“We are currently planning the world’s first brain transplant, and I consider it realistic that we will be ready in three years at the latest.”

British scientists are sceptical about whether the brain could be fully restored from frozen.

Clive Coen, professor of neuroscience at King’s College London, said the chances of bringing a brain back was “infinitesimal”.

Dr Channa Jayasena, clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London added: “It is currently not possible to freeze and thaw human tissue without killing many cells contained within it.”

Professor Canavero is working with a Chinese team of doctors led by Dr Ren Xiaoping, of Harbin Medical Centre, who helped perform the first successful hand transplant in the US.

Although Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov, who has spinal muscular atrophy, had volunteered to become the first head transplant patient, the team expects the first operation to be with a Chinese donor and patient.

Last year, the team announced a successful head transplant performed on a monkey.

Telegraph, London

DEADLY BRAIN CANCER & STILL ALIVE AFTER 6 YEARS-DOCTORS SAID ONLY WEEKS..!!

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Grant Sanderson was diagnosed with brain cancer image www.newcures.info

WHEN Grant Sanderson was diagnosed with brain cancer six years ago, he was told that without immediate treatment, he had less than a week to live.

Today the Yengarie man and his fiancee, Sheridan Mosk, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their miracle baby, which was conceived naturally despite fears that the treatment Grant had undergone would mean he would be unable to have children.

Grant was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer in 2011.

He underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation and was told the treatment would extend his life by about 18 months.

But six years on, Grant is proving the doctors wrong.

“No one has ever survived past two years of this cancer at that size in Australia,” Sheridan said.

“He is the first person in Australia to beat brain cancer of this severity.”

Last year Sheridan and Grant met and “instantly fell in love”.

“It was like our souls saw each other and kind of went, ‘oh, there you are, I’ve been waiting for you’.

“Grant is the kindest person I have ever met and also the biggest dork I have ever met. He has such a contagious smile.”

The two are now happily expecting the arrival of their child in October.

“Our beautiful baby which is baking away was conceived 100% naturally, which again is a beautiful miracle considering what Daddy has been through with his chemo and radiation.

“If anyone deserves to be a father, it’s this man.”

Sheridan said they wanted to share Grant’s story to inspire others who were undergoing cancer treatment and their families going through it with them.

“If anything we hope someone can draw some strength from our story.

“Cancer does not discriminate, it attacks little children, it attacks mums and dads, nannies and poppies and it doesn’t care how much you need them either. But no matter – even if given the heart-wrenching diagnosis of terminal cancer, that cannot take away your ability to have faith.

“You can fight and win. Grant is walking, talking proof of that.”

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Henry Sapiecha

Just Hours after this photo was taken, she tragically died

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Gabrielle Marsh died hours after this photo was taken. She was celebrating her upcoming 20th birthday at home with friends when she suffered a catastrophic brain bleed image www.newcures.info

Gabrielle Marsh died hours after this photo was taken. She was celebrating her upcoming 20th birthday at home with friends when she suffered a catastrophic brain bleed

IT WAS supposed to be a fun night with her friends celebrating her 20th birthday – and when Gabrielle Marsh started to get a headache, no one suspected she would be dead hours later.

Photos of the night show the young Auckland woman raising a toast with her best friends, showing off the platter of food she’d thoughtfully planned and created for the night.

Two hours after those photos were taken Gabby, as she was known, was lying on the floor of her home in agony, her mother Kathryn at her side and an ambulance on its way.

Later that night as Gabby lay hooked up to life support machines Auckland City Hospital staff delivered the heartbreaking news to her family – she had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was unlikely to survive.

The next day a decision was made. Gabby was to be taken off life support – but not until her organs had been donated.

And on Monday March 6, on her 20th birthday, after her family had said their goodbyes, Gabby was taken to surgery.

“The woman at the hospital called me and said it was all done, and the donation was taking place as we speak,” Kathryn Marsh told the NZ Herald.

“Gabby loved doing things for other people, and that was her biggest, most amazing gift.”

Gabby’s organs saved the lives of at least six people; her kidney, pancreas, lungs, liver and heart valves were all successfully donated.

“Of course, more than anything, we would love to have her here, but that’s not to be,” said Kathryn.

“But if anything good can come out of it, if she has helped people, then that’s comforting.”

Gabby was the eldest of three children and is survived by Jacob, 18 and 16-year-old Victoria.

Her death was the second tragedy for her family, her father Shayne died just 17 months ago after a long illness.

“It’s still not really sunken in, it was so sudden,” Kathryn said.

“Shayne was sick for 14 months and we all had time to get used to the idea, but with Gabby it was the complete opposite. It’s left us all a bit shell-shocked.”

Gabby was born and raised in Auckland, attending Mount Albert Grammar School before enrolling at Auckland University.

She was about to start her third year of a double degree in commerce and law when she died.

“She was a really good sister, she was kind, generous and she was like a second mum to me,” Jacob said.

Her family described her as extremely thoughtful and loving, adventurous, caring, a “rock star academic” and a young woman motivated and driven with a lot of energy.

“She had a killer smile that came easy and often,” her aunt Michelle Cliffe said.

Kathryn said she didn’t know where to begin when asked what was special about her eldest child.

“She just made people feel at ease and she was easy to be around. There was something special about Gabby,” she said.

After Shayne died, Gabby was a “phenomenal help” to Kathryn, stepping up to do her share of cooking, cleaning and helping with her siblings.

“She just got stuff done, she was pragmatic, hard working and so organised,” Michelle said.

The day Gabby died she woke early and went for a walk with Kathryn – something they did most days together.

Then the pair went to Newmarket shopping and Gabby helped her mother choose a new swimsuit for an extended family holiday to Fiji in April.

The family ate lunch together and Gabby went to watch her boyfriend Bradley play softball before returning home to prepare for her party.

She didn’t drink alcohol, but prepared pina colada cocktails for her three best friends, making a rum-free version for herself.

The girls had planned to go out in the city that night; Gabby loved old music so wanted to go dancing at Irish bar Danny Doolans.

Bradley was going to pick them up and drive them to town.

Then, Gabby started to complain about having a headache.

“It was getting worse and worse,” Kathryn said.

“She just wanted to lie down. Her friends left, they told her it was okay, that they would celebrate with her another time and they called Bradley to tell him.”

After the girls left, Gabby started throwing up and became agitated and slurring her words.

Kathryn suspected a severe migraine, and called an ambulance.

As the paramedics arrived – and Bradley – Gabby lost consciousness.

She never woke up.

Doctors have told her family they believe she had a arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.

It is likely she was born with the condition and there was nothing her family could have done to detect or prevent her death.

“She was healthy, she exercised, she didn’t drink,” said Kathryn, shaking her head.

“The specialist said it was like a ticking time bomb,” Jacob added.

The family said the decision to donate Gabby’s organs was easy; they knew it was what she wanted as she specified it on her licence, and she was a generous young woman.

“She had such a bright future in front of her and I would have just loved to see her future unfold,” Kathryn said.

“We said goodbye to her and we knew that she was then going off to theatre – that she was the one giving the gifts on her birthday.

“She’s given life to more than six people on her birthday, that is her legacy.”

Jacob was brimming with pride over his sister’s final gift.

“It’s like she is living on in other people,” he said.

The Marsh family urged people to openly discuss organ donation with loved ones and make their wishes known.

They hoped to one day meet some of the people that Gabby’s organs helped.

The Gabby Marsh Scholarship

Gabby’s university friends have started a Givealittle page to fund a scholarship in her name, with the support of her family.

“Gabby was passionate, fun loving and kind. She smiled easily and often. She was selfless, considerate and generous.

She was someone who impacted everyone she met,” her friends said.

“Gabby changed the lives of so many around her, and we dream for her character and kindness to continue changing the life of others.

“To honour her academic ability, her exceptional character and her future cut tragically short, the Gabby Marsh Scholarship will be established and offered annually to enable a young school leaver demonstrating exceptional character and service to fulfil their dream of studying commerce at the University of Auckland.”

More than $20,000 has been donated so far.

To donate or read more, click here.

Thanks to the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors and their families a record 1,447 Australians were given a second chance at life in 2016. There were an additional 267 living donors, including 44 under the Australian Kidney Exchange Program.

To register on the Australian Organ Donor Register, click here.

www.goodgirlsgo.com

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Henry Sapiecha

How to Build a better brain

Friday, 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

How Can Viruses Like Zika Cause Birth Defects?

Monday, February 8th, 2016
While the link between Zika and microcephaly is uncertain, similar diseases show how the virus might be affecting infants

Thousands of infants born in Brazil have been reported to show signs of microcephaly,-image www.newcures.info

Thousands of infants born in Brazil have been reported to show signs of microcephaly, like Alice pictured here being comforted by her father. (Rafael Fabres/dpa/Corbis)

In adults, the symptoms of the Zika virus are relatively mild—rashes, fever, joint pain, malaise. Most who are infected may not even know it. But as this seemingly routine disease spreads across the Americas, so do cases of a much more severe problem: infants born with microcephaly.

This birth defect comes from malformation of the brain, leaving those inflicted with varying degrees of shrunken heads and in many cases a slew of neurologic problems. These include hearing troubles, developmental delays and intellectual impairment.

Brazil usually sees a couple hundred cases of microcephaly per year—a number that some suggest is unusually low due to underreporting. Diseases from parasites like malaria or toxoplasmosis, genetic mutations and even excessive alcohol consumption during early pregnancy can all cause microcephaly. But since October 2015, well over 3,500 infants have been reported with telltale signs of the deformation, coinciding with the explosive spread of the Zika virus in the region.

The spotty information from this outbreak is not enough to definitively say whether Zika causes microcephaly. But the link is plausible, and medical experts are looking to other viruses known to cause developmental defects to try to figure out Zika’s potential pathway to destruction.

“Certain viruses really love the brain,” says Kristina Adams Waldorf, an obstetrics and gynecology doctor who studies how infection induces preterm labor. Cytomegalovirus and rubella have relatively mild impacts on healthy adults but can cause debilitating birth defects. And varicella-zoster virus (which causes chicken pox) can cause a host of complications, including problems in the brain.

Many mosquito-borne viruses, like West Nile, also cause forms of brain injury in adults. “So it’s not a big stretch for us to make the connection between a mosquito-born virus [and] microcephaly,” she says.

Spread mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Zika was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys. Notable outbreaks struck humans on the tiny island of Yap in 2007 and in French Polynesia in 2013. But few people in the Americas had likely heard of Zika until the recent outbreak exploded in Brazil.

No one knows how the virus got there, but many have suggested that it arrived in 2014, carried in the blood of someone among the hordes of people flocking to the World Cup. Since then Zika has spread to more than 20 countries and territories. The possible link to microcephaly has sparked travel warnings for pregnant women and prompted the World Health Organization to declare Zika a global health emergency.

It’s no medical surprise that a virus like Zika can have relatively mild impacts on adults but potentially catastrophic effects on developing fetuses.

Viruses reproduce by hijacking their host’s cells, using their natural processes to make copies of themselves. These copies then strike out on their own to infect more cells. When a virus interferes, the cells can’t function normally—the virus either kills the cells or prevents them from functioning well enough to report for duty. That makes viral infections especially dangerous for developing babies.

“When the fetus is developing its brains, there are a lot of sensitive cells there that have to get to the right places at the right times,” says virologist Kristen Bernard at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. That’s a serious problem in fetuses, which don’t yet have robust ways to fight off microbial invaders.

“You’re talking about a fetus that has a minimal immune system, whereas an adult has, hopefully, a fully functioning immune system,” explains pediatrician and immunologist Sallie Permar of the Duke University School of Medicine.

This cellular vulnerability is the basis of developmental issues linked to cytomegalovirus, or CMV, says Permar. CMV is in the Herpes family of viruses and is the most common infection passed from mother to child in the United States. Between 50 and 80 percent of people in the U.S. will be infected with the virus by the age of 40, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Similar to Zika, few of these people will ever show symptoms of the infection.

8x11-ZikaENG

We don’t have a great understanding of how CMV-infected cell impairment results in specific neurologic defects in babies, Permar says, but there are clues. “It seems that where the virus is replicating is where you end up with some neurologic impairments.”

For example, hearing loss is a major problem for infants born with CMV. In such cases, the virus can be found in both the part of the brain that helps with hearing as well as a portion of the inner ear called the cochlea, Permar says.

Similarly, some genetic cases of microcephaly have previously been linked to the dysfunction of a particular structure in cells called a centrosome, says Adams Waldorf. This structure is where the “scaffolding system” of the cell organizes and is involved in cell replication, she explains. When the centrosome is damaged, the brains don’t develop properly.

It’s possible Zika is staging an attack on infant brain cells that mirrors the genetic condition. In December, the Brazil Ministry of Health announced identification of Zika virus in multiple tissues of an infant with microcephaly, including the brain. But it’s still too early to make a direct link.

It’s also unclear how Zika can penetrate the natural barrier between mom’s bloodstream and her placenta—although there’s already evidence that it can happen. In the same report, the Brazil Ministry of Health also confirmed two instances of Zika in the amniotic fluid of developing fetuses with microcephaly.

No matter the virus, if mom gets a severe illness during pregnancy, additional damage can be caused by the so-called “bystander effect,” says placental biologist Ted Golos of the University of Madison-Wisconsin.

When the body detects something foreign, like a virus or parasite, it triggers inflammation in an attempt to get rid of the intruder. Despite these positive intentions, “the cascade of events that happen in response to a pathogen can [poorly impact the fetus] in a collateral damage kind of way,” he says. Inflammation of the placenta, for instance, can cause miscarriages and other complications.

There’s added concern that if the link between Zika and birth defects is confirmed, many of the longer term impacts of this disease won’t be identified for years. “Microcephaly is a tragic outcome,” says Golos. “But it could very well be the tip of the iceberg. Or it might not … we simply don’t know.”

The hope now is that researchers can develop a Zika vaccine, so if the virus is causing birth defects, we can stamp out their cause.

“We have the tools to eliminate one very severe congenital infection, and that’s been rubella virus,” says Permar. “So there is a success story with a maternal vaccine.”

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Henry Sapiecha

People’s Brain Chemistry May Reveal the Hour of Their Death

Monday, January 4th, 2016
The tiny biological clocks ticking away inside the body stop when life ends, leaving a timestamp of sorts

brain man head display image www.newcures.info

Human bodies know what time it is, even without the aid of a wristwatch. Every cell and every organ ticks and burbles according to our circadian rhythms. Recently, when researchers decided to look at the brain’s internal clock they discovered that all that biological activity stops at the moment of death, leaving a timestamp that may tell us the hour of a person’s passing.

People who died in the morning have a different mix of active genes and proteins in their brain cells than people who died in the evening or at night, reports Carl Zimmer for The New York Times. The discovery is more than just a morbid oddity. Researchers are trying to understand exactly how internal clocks dictate brain biology and chemistry. Figuring that out could help scientists treat sleep disorders, dementia, depression and more.

“Sleep and activity cycles are a very big part of psychiatric illnesses,” says Huda Akil, a neuroscientist based at the University of Michigan.

Akil and her colleagues have hunted through brains kept preserved at the University of California, Irvine, to find the signature that betrays the organs’ owners’ time of death. The team looked at the brains of 55 people who died suddenly, such as in a car crash, and analyzed the genes that were “turned on” at the time of death in six different brain regions involved in learning, memory, emotion and biological regulation.

They found more than 100 genes that ramp up their activity during certain times of the day. The genes include those that dictate metabolism, lipid synthesis and wakefulness. The researchers could even guess when the person died within an hour of their actual time of death.

Another study by a group at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, inspired by Akil’s work, looked at 146 brains in their university collection. “Lo and behold, we got very nice rhythms,” Colleen A. McClung, the leader of the effort, tells the Times. “It really seems like a snapshot of where the brain was at the moment of death.”

McClung and her colleagues also looked at the patterns of genes turned on or off in the brains of young people and old people. They discovered that some of the genes with strong cycle patterns in young people had more subdued patterns in people older than 60. But other genes seem to became more active as people age. They reported their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week.

Akil thinks that those changing patterns might mean that one clock winds down as we age and another might start up to compensate. How well the brain is able to keep time might determine whether a person experiences age-related neurodegeneration.

If that idea turns out to true, it will be more evidence that it might be a good idea not to mess with the natural rhythms of the circadian clock as much as modern humans tend to do.

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Henry Sapiecha

Brazil declares emergency after 2400 babies born with brain damage

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Women with their newborns in a Brazilian maternity hospital image www.newcures.info

Women with their newborns in a Brazilian maternity hospital. Photo: Getty Images

Brazilian health authorities are sounding the alarm about a mosquito-borne virus that they believe may be the cause of thousands of infants being born with damaged brains.

The pathogen, known as Zika and first discovered in forest monkeys in Africa over 70 years ago, is the new West Nile – a virus that causes mild symptoms in most but can lead to serious neurological complications or even death in others. Brazil’s health ministry said on November 28 that it had found the Zika virus in a baby with microcephaly – a rare condition in which infants are born with shrunken skulls – during an autopsy after the child died. The virus was also found in the amniotic fluid of two mothers whose babies had the condition.

“This is an unprecedented situation, unprecedented in world scientific research,” the ministry said in a statement on its website, according to CNN.

Brazil is investigating more than more than 2400 suspected cases of microcephaly and 29 deaths of infants that occurred this year. Last year the country saw only 147 cases of microcephaly.

The situation in Brazil is so overwhelming that Angela Rocha, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist, said that women may want to hold off on getting pregnant.

“These are newborns who will require special attention their entire lives. It’s an emotional stress that just can’t be imagined,” Rocha said. “We’re talking about a generation of babies that’s going to be affected.”

Until a few years ago, human infections with the virus were almost unheard of. Then, for reasons scientists can’t explain but think may have to do with the complicated effects of climate change, it began to pop up in far-flung parts of the world. In 2007, it infected nearly three-quarters of Yap Island’s 11,000 residents. In 2013, Zika showed up in Tahiti and other parts of French Polynesia and was responsible for making an estimated 28,000 people so ill they sought medical care. It arrived in Brazil in May, where tens of thousands have fallen ill.

The World Health Organization, which has been monitoring the spread of the virus closely and issued an alert about the situation in Brazil, reported this month that it had popped up for the first time in the West African nation of Cape Verde and that it had led to additional illnesses in Panama and Honduras.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found the virus in a few travellers returning from overseas, but says there have not come across any cases of people being infected by mosquitoes in the country.

Brazil has been struggling to contain the virus for months through both public education campaigns – which urge residents to use insect repellant and limit their time outdoors – as well as by sending mosquito eradication teams house to house to treat places where mosquitoes that carry the virus might breed.

The health ministry said it was sending truckloads of larvicide – enough to treat 3560 Olympic-sized swimming pools – to northeastern and southeastern states that have been most affected, and that it would add 266,000 new community health agents to make the house calls.

Washington Post

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Henry Sapiecha

‘Lost’ Memories recalled with Light Theraphy

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

brain diagram image www.newcures.infobrainlight image www.newcures.info

Recalling ‘Lost’ Memories with Light

Thu, 05/28/2015 – 3:25pm
Helen Knight, MIT News Correspondent

Memories that have been “lost” as a result of amnesia can be recalled by activating brain cells with light.

In a paper published today in the journal Science, researchers at MIT reveal that they were able to reactivate memories that could not otherwise be retrieved, using a technology known as optogenetics.

The finding answers a fiercely debated question in neuroscience as to the nature of amnesia, according to Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor in MIT’s Department of Biology and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, who directed the research by lead authors Tomas Ryan, Dheeraj Roy, and Michelle Pignatelli.

Neuroscience researchers have for many years debated whether retrograde amnesia — which follows traumatic injury, stress, or diseases such as Alzheimer’s — is caused by damage to specific brain cells, meaning a memory cannot be stored, or if access to that memory is somehow blocked, preventing its recall.

“The majority of researchers have favored the storage theory, but we have shown in this paper that this majority theory is probably wrong,” Tonegawa says. “Amnesia is a problem of retrieval impairment.”

Memory researchers have previously speculated that somewhere in the brain network is a population of neurons that are activated during the process of acquiring a memory, causing enduring physical or chemical changes.

If these groups of neurons are subsequently reactivated by a trigger such as a particular sight or smell, for example, the entire memory is recalled. These neurons are known as “memory engram cells.”

Shedding Light
In 2012 Tonegawa’s group used optogenetics — in which proteins are added to neurons to allow them to be activated with light — to demonstrate for the first time that such a population of neurons does indeed exist in an area of the brain called the hippocampus.

However, until now no one has been able to show that these groups of neurons do undergo enduring chemical changes, in a process known as memory consolidation. One such change, known as “long-term potentiation” (LTP), involves the strengthening of synapses, the structures that allow groups of neurons to send signals to each other, as a result of learning and experience.

To find out if these chemical changes do indeed take place, the researchers first identified a group of engram cells in the hippocampus that, when activated using optogenetic tools, were able to express a memory.

When they then recorded the activity of this particular group of cells, they found that the synapses connecting them had been strengthened. “We were able to demonstrate for the first time that these specific cells — a small group of cells in the hippocampus — had undergone this augmentation of synaptic strength,” Tonegawa says.

The researchers then attempted to discover what happens to memories without this consolidation process. By administering a compound called anisomycin, which blocks protein synthesis within neurons, immediately after mice had formed a new memory, the researchers were able to prevent the synapses from strengthening.

When they returned one day later and attempted to reactivate the memory using an emotional trigger, they could find no trace of it. “So even though the engram cells are there, without protein synthesis those cell synapses are not strengthened, and the memory is lost,” Tonegawa says.

But startlingly, when the researchers then reactivated the protein synthesis-blocked engram cells using optogenetic tools, they found that the mice exhibited all the signs of recalling the memory in full.

“If you test memory recall with natural recall triggers in an anisomycin-treated animal, it will be amnesiac, you cannot induce memory recall,” Tonegawa says. “But if you go directly to the putative engram-bearing cells and activate them with light, you can restore the memory, despite the fact that there has been no LTP.”

‘Groundbreaking Paper’
Further studies carried out by Tonegawa’s group demonstrated that memories are stored not in synapses strengthened by protein synthesis in individual engram cells, but in a circuit, or “pathway” of multiple groups of engram cells and the connections between them.

“We are proposing a new concept, in which there is an engram cell ensemble pathway, or circuit, for each memory,” he says. “This circuit encompasses multiple brain areas and the engram cell ensembles in these areas are connected specifically for a particular memory.”

The research dissociates the mechanisms used in memory storage from those of memory retrieval, according to Ryan. “The strengthening of engram synapses is crucial for the brain’s ability to access or retrieve those specific memories, while the connectivity pathways between engram cells allows the encoding and storage of the memory information itself,” he says.

Changes in synaptic strength and in spine properties have long been associated with learning and memory, according to Alcino Silva, director of the Integrative Center for Learning and Memory at the University of California at Los Angeles. “This groundbreaking paper suggests that these changes may not be as critical for memory as once thought, since under certain conditions, it seems to be possible to disrupt these changes and still preserve memory,” he says. “Instead, it appears that these changes may be needed for memory retrieval, a mysterious process that has so far evaded neuroscientists.”

ooo

Henry Sapiecha

THESE ARE SOME 21 HEALTH FRAUDS TO KEEP AN EYE OPEN FOR

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

21 Total Health Frauds You Need To Know About…

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There are many health remedies and empty promises out there which simply do not work. Not only are some people being tricked, but some are even harmed. Here are 21 health frauds you need to know about…

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1. Identity Theft

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In this case, medical identity theft is a real issue. This is when a person’s identity has been misused in order to pay for services, bills, medications, or whatever else they desire. This is not only happening to patients, as doctors are also being targeted. The identity of doctors are stolen, then used to write fake prescriptions.

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2. Miracle Cures

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If anything claims to be a ‘miracle cure,’ then it’s probably too good to be true. Companies will often use claims such as ‘secret ingredient’ or ‘new scientific discovery.’ The truth is, if these claims were true, treating a well-known condition, it would be all over the media. Don’t fall for miracle cure scams. Know what you’re buying first.

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3. Quick Fixes

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Once again, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Very few conditions can be treated rapidly, even with the latest, most legitimate products and medications. If anyone makes claims like, ‘cure your lung cancer in days’ or ‘lose 40 pounds in a month,’ then you should be VERY cautious.

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4. Anti-Aging

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We value a younger looking culture, which is why people strive to looker younger each and every day. There are so many pills on the market, which haven’t been proven to reduce the signs of aging. There are also creams, therapies, and all kinds of false claims. You’re better off eating right, exercising, and minimizing stress.

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5. Arthritis Remedies

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This is a large area of concern, as SO many people are affected by arthritis. If you see claims that magnets, chemicals, radiation, magic pills, or any other form of treatment will cure your arthritis, it’s unlikely that it actually will. Once again, rest, exercises, heat and diet are your best bet when it comes to reducing symptoms.

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6. Cancer Cures

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It’s sad that people take advantage of others during their most desperate times, but it happens. Scam artists most certainly prey on cancer patients, because they’ll do anything to improve their condition. There isn’t a treatment that can cure all cancer types, it simply doesn’t exist yet. Don’t waste your time with UNPROVEN treatments, as this is precious time wasted.

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7. False Memory Aids

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Smart pills will not improve your memory, which are often marketed as miracle pills for dementia or Alzheimer’s. There isn’t a cure for these conditions, so please be aware. You need to keep your mind stimulated and provide it with nutrients. If you are suffering from issues with your memory, create a treatment plan with your doctor, do not buy pills off of the Internet.

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8. Dietary Supplements

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There are most certainly some great supplements out there, but there are also a lot of fraudulent products as well. Since the Federal Government does not consider supplements to be medicine they’re not regulated as tightly. Many supplements are not properly tested, which could cause you more harm than good.

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9. Health Insurance Scams

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Careful when purchasing health insurance, as the fine print may suggest something else. Many insurance companies will make claims, but than fail to deliver. If you do buy insurance, ALWAYS make sure that the company is licensed within your state.

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10. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

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Some companies are selling fraudulent medications online. Many seniors are looking for cheaper options, which these companies provide. This is dangerous, because they don’t know what’s in the medication and it may make their condition worse. People often lose their money and are no better off in terms of their medical condition.

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11. Fraudulent Diabetes Supplements

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There are many diabetes supplements which make exciting claims, yet put consumers in harms way. These supplements can result in injury or even death. There are some great supplements out there, so just make sure you do your research. Read ALL the claims and see if anything seems like it’s conflicting. Also, ask you doctor to look at the ingredient list and claims, so that you know you’re not putting yourself at-risk.

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12. Tainted Sexual Enhancement Drugs

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There are many products that are now being offered, which include dangerous ingredients. Some include prescription drugs (which are unrelated to the condition the consumer is trying to treat), hidden active ingredients, illegal drugs and more. This is becoming increasingly popular in sexual enhancement drugs, so please be cautious before you purchase any enhancement drugs

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13. Weight Loss and Sibutramine

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The FDA has found multiple weight-loss supplements which contain the prescription drug known as sibutramine. This drug has already been removed from the FDA-approved list, as it was causing heart complications and strokes. Nothing beats a healthy diet and exercise, when trying to lose weight.

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14. Bodybuilding Supplements

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Not all supplements are created equal, so do not waste your money or time! In some cases, it’s not just your wallet you need to worry about. Many men’s supplements are packed with soy, causing their pecks to fill with fatty tissue. Instead of building muscle, men have been developing breasts. There are also many dangerous additives being used, so be aware of what you’re taking

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15. 7-Day Miracle Cleanse

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There were claims that a 7-day miracle cleanse could treat AIDs, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. This was developed by Paris DeAguero, who claimed that this cleanse cured his cancer, marketing his product on infomercials. These claims were obviously false, but you see how quickly people can be impacted.

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16. Chelation Therapy For Autism

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We still do not understand everything there is to know about autism. This was a claim made, so that parents could remove mercury from their autistic children’s bodies. This is due to the fact that mercury-based preservatives were used in autistic medications until 2001. This therapy is not only fraudulent, but dangerous. It does NOT cure autism.

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17. Ozone Therapy

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This therapy involves infused blood, drinking water with triatomic oxygen, or body cavities, in order to kill microbes. This therapy claims to kill arthritis, cancer and HIV microbes. Ground-level ozone is considered a pollutant, and should NOT be administered to your body.

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18. Malariotherapy

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This was a pre-antibiotic treatment for syphilis, developed by Dr. Henry Heimlich. He also advocates that the malaria infection, can help cure other diseases. He began to claim that this therapy could cure AIDS, even though these patients have poor immune systems.

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19. Cancell…?

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This treatment targets cancer patients, as the company Nu-gen Nutrition Inc was sued by the FTC based on false claims. Offered in the form of an electrolyte drink, this product claims to cure cancer

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20. All-Natural Processed Foods

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The food industry also uses health in order to market their products. If a product which has been processed says ‘all-natural’ does not mean that it’s a healthy choice. If something was all-natural, it should be grown out of the ground and eaten just as natural intended. The FDA has not yet defined all natural, so companies are using this to their advantage. Many of these products are packed with preservatives and use low quality ingredients.

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21. Zero Trans Fats

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Once again, know what you’re buying. You need to read labels and ingredient lists, so that you are not fooled into making poor health choices. Companies have some wiggle room when it comes to trans fats. These are of course the unhealthiest fats, directly threatening your heart health. Products can have up to 0.5% trans fats, yet still be marketed as zero. Look for hydrogenated ingredients, so that you can protect your health and cholesterol.

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OOO

Henry Sapiecha

The science of telepathy..Brain-to-brain interface is happening we are now told

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The science fantasy of transmitting thoughts directly from one brain to another is turning into a reality.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk a mile (or 1.6 kilometres) in somebody else’s shoes? Or have you ever tried to send a telepathic message to a partner in transit to “pick up milk on your way home”?

Recent advances in brain-computer interfaces are turning the science fantasy of transmitting thoughts directly from one brain to another into reality.

Studies published in the last two years have reported direct transmission of brain activity between two animalsbetween two humans and even between a human and a rat. These “brain-to-brain interfaces” (BBIs) allow for direct transmission of brain activity in real time by coupling the brains of two individuals.

So what is the science behind this?

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Reading the brainwaves

Brain-to-brain interface is made possible because of the way brain cells communicate with each other. Cell-to-cell communication occurs via a process known as synaptic transmission, where chemical signals are passed between cells resulting in electrical spikes in the receiving cell.

Synaptic transmission forms the basis of all brain activity, including motor control, memory, perception and emotion. Because cells are connected in a network, brain activity produces a synchronised pulse of electrical activity, which is called a “brain wave”.

Brain waves change according to the cognitive processes that the brain is currently working through and are characterised by the time-frequency pattern of the up and down states (oscillations).

For example, there are brainwaves that are characteristic of the different phases of sleep, and patterns characteristic of various states of awareness and consciousness.

Brainwaves are detected using a technique known as electroencephalography (EEG), where a swimming-cap like device is worn over the scalp and electrical activity detected via electrodes. The pattern of activity is then recorded and interpreted using computer software.

This kind of brain-machine interface forms the basis of neural prosthesis technology and is used to restore brain function. This may sound far-fetched, but neural prostheses are actually commonplace, just think of the Cochlear implant!

Technical telepathy

The electrical nature of the brain allows not only for sending of signals, but also for the receiving of electrical pulses. These can be delivered in a non-invasive way using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

A TMS device creates a magnetic field over the scalp, which then causes an electrical current in the brain. When a TMS coil is placed over the motor cortex, the motor pathways can be activated, resulting in movement of a limb, hand or foot, or even a finger or toe.

Scientists are now working on ways to sort through all the noise in brainwaves to uncover specific signals that can then be used to create an artificial communication channel between animals.

The first demonstration of this was in a 2013 study where a pair of rats were connected through a BBI to perform a behavioural task. The connection was reinforced by giving both rats a reward when the receiver rat performed the task correctly.

Hot on the heels of this study was a demonstration that a human could control the tail movements of a rat via BBI.

We now know that BBIs can work between humans too. By combining EEG and TMS, scientists have transmitted the thought of moving a hand from one person to a separate individual, who actually moved their hand. The BBI works best when both participants are conscious cooperators in the experiment. In this case, the subjects were engaged in a computer game.

Thinking at you

The latest advance in human BBIs represents another leap forward. This is where transmission of conscious thought was achieved between two human beings in August last year.

Using a combination of technologies – including EEG, the Internet and TMS – the team of researchers was able to transmit a thought all the way from India to France.

Words were first coded into binary notation (i.e. 1 = “hola”; 0 = “ciao”). Then the resulting EEG signal from the person thinking the 1 or the 0 was transmitted to a robot-driven TMS device positioned over the visual cortex of the receiver’s brain.

In this case, the TMS pulses resulted in the perception of flashes of light for the receiver, who was then able to decode this information into the original words (hola or ciao).

Now that these BBI technologies are becoming a reality, they have a huge potential to impact the way we interact with other humans. And maybe even the way we communicate with animals through direct transmission of thought.

Such technologies have obvious ethical and legal implications, however. So it is important to note that the success of BBIs depends upon the conscious coupling of the subjects.

In this respect, there is a terrific potential for BBIs to one day be integrated into psychotherapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy, learning of motor skills, or even more fantastical situations akin to remote control of robots on distant planets or Vulcan-like mind melds a la Star Trek.

Soon, it might well be possible to really experience walking a mile (or a kilometre) in another person’s shoes.

Kristyn Bates is Research Assistant Professor in Neuroscience at University of Western Australia.

ooo

Henry Sapiecha