Transplanted Hands, Curing Shoplifting, Chocolate, Itches, Bacteria, Stem Cells, and Editing Memory

April 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Medical | Leave a comment

Medical MondayThis is the third of five articles for Medical Monday, April 13 2009.

  1. General medical news in Canada.
  2. News related to Cancer treatment.
  3. International Medical News.
  4. Mental Disabilities raves and rant
  5. News and developments for people with Physical Disabilities.

France Transplanted hands differ in connecting to brain:

“The left hand seems to be faster at reconnecting to the brain after a transplant, a small study suggests.”

Minnesota Minnesota – Shoplifters can be cured with a pill :

“A drug commonly used to treat alcohol and drug addiction may help curb the urge to steal among prolific shoplifters, scientists have said.”

United Kingdom Mental arithmetic can become easier after eating chocolate, scientists have found.:

Researchers testing the impact of different foods on brain performance found that flavanols – a compound found in cocoa – increases the flow of blood into the brain.

This they claim makes certain mental functions, like basic maths, easier to do. It also means people feel less mentally drained after a long day.

Minnesota Minnesota again – How scratching can stop an itch:

The latest work, in primates, found that scratching the skin blocks activity of nerve cells in the spinothalamic tract during itchiness – preventing the spinal cord from transmitting signals from the scratched area of skin to the brain.

Researcher Dr Glenn Giesler hopes the work could lead to ways to relieve chronic itch effectively for the first time.

New Jersey Princeton – How Bacteria Communicate (VIDEO):

“Bonnie Bassler, professor of molecular biology at Princeton, explains how bacteria communicate with one another in this TED talk. She begins with bioluminescence, and why it only occurs after bacteria have multiplied to a critical mass/concentration. She then extends the concept to virulence in human infections (the bacteria actually control their pathogenicity).”

Illinois “Ill”inios – Possible New Non-antibiotic Way To Block Hospital Infections:

[Pseudomonas aeruginosa] is one of the hundreds of bacteria that colonize the human intestinal tract, usually causing no apparent harm. It might even be beneficial to its host. Once the host is weakened by an illness, surgical procedure or immunosuppressive drugs, however, P. aeruginosa can cause infection, inflammation, sepsis and death.

Why P. aeruginosa can suddenly turn on its host has eluded researchers—until now. Scientists have long known that after an operation or organ surgery, levels of inorganic phosphate fall. The authors of the PNAS paper, led by scientists at the University of Chicago, hypothesized that phosphate depletion in the stressed intestinal tract signals P. aeruginosa to become lethal.

United Kingdom May Soon Repair Broken Bones, Joints With Simple Stem Cell Shot:

Doctors may soon be able to patch up damaged bones and joints anywhere in the body with a simple shot in the arm.

Texas Texas – Molecule Prompts Heart Cells To Repair Themselves After Heart Attack:

“A protein that the heart produces during its early development reactivates the embryonic coronary developmental program and initiates migration of heart cells and blood vessel growth after a heart attack”

California San Diego – Axons Necessary For Voluntary Movement Regenerated:

“This finding establishes a method for regenerating a system of nerve fibers called corticospinal motor axons. Restoring these axons is an essential step in one day enabling patients to regain voluntary movement after spinal cord injury,”

New York State Brooklyn – Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory :

“Suppose scientists could erase certain memories by tinkering with a single substance in the brain. Could make you forget a chronic fear, a traumatic loss, even a bad habit. Researchers in Brooklyn have recently accomplished comparable feats, with a single dose of an experimental drug delivered to areas of the brain critical for holding specific types of memory”

United Kingdom An Early Test For Genetic Alzheimer’s Just Jumped Its First Hurdle:

The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for forming memories and for spatial orientation. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to be damaged, and its effects are seen early in Alzheimer’s by disorientation of the patient… an inability to retrace one’s steps or no awareness of how they came to a particular place.

The brain scans of the subjects in the Oxford/Imperial study show that the same mutant gene, the ApoE4, is present in the hippocampus and hyperactive long before Alzheimer’s would be anticipated. This is the first study to make the observation and an important one, as one-fourth of persons who carry one ApoE4 gene are four times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease; if two ApoE4 genes are present, the chances of developing Alzheimer’s are 10 times more likely.

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