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Why Humans Outlive Apes

The same evolutionary genetic advantages that have helped increase human lifespans also make us uniquely susceptible to diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease and dementia, reveals a study published in a special PNAS collection on "Evolution in Health and Medicine" on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Comparing the life spans of humans with other primates, Caleb Finch, ARCO & William F. Kieschnick Professor in the Neurobiology of Aging in the USC Davis School of Gerontology, explains that slight differences in DNA sequencing in humans have enabled us to better respond to infection and inflammation, the leading cause of mortality in wild chimpanzees and in early human populations with limited access to modern medicine.

Blood Will Tell Old Stem Cells How To Act Young

As you age, your blood ages. Deep in your bone marrow, blood stem cells keep churning out your blood cells, but the mix of blood cell types goes awry, making you more prone to disease. Joslin Diabetes Center scientists now have demonstrated that in old mice exposed to certain proteins that are present in blood from young mice, old blood stem cells begin to act like young ones-and this process is driven by signals from another type of cell nearby in the bone. Published in a paper in Nature on January 28, the findings from researchers in the lab of Joslin Principal Investigator Amy J. Wagers, Ph.D., advance our understanding of aging of the blood-forming ("hematopoietic") system and point toward ways to treat age-related ailments via the blood.

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Overweight' Adults Age 70 Or Older Are Less Likely To Die Over A 10 Year Period Than Those Of 'Normal' Weight

Adults aged over 70 years who are classified as overweight are less likely to die over a ten year period than adults who are in the 'normal' weight range, according to a new study published today in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society. Researchers looked at data taken over a decade among more than 9, 200 Australian men and women aged between 70 and 75 at the beginning of the study, who were assessed for their health and lifestyle as part of a study into healthy aging. The paper sheds light on the situation in Australia, which is ranked the third most obese country, behind the United States and the United Kingdom. Obesity and overweight are most commonly defined according to body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing bodyweight (in kg) by the square of height (in metres).

Researchers Develop New Tool For Gene Delivery

Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts have developed a new tool for gene therapy that significantly increases gene delivery to cells in the retina compared to other carriers and DNA alone, according to a study published in the January issue of The Journal of Gene Medicine. The tool, a peptide called PEG-POD, provides a vehicle for therapeutic genes and may help researchers develop therapies for degenerative eye disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. "For the first time, we have demonstrated an efficient way to transfer DNA into cells without using a virus, currently the most common means of DNA delivery.

Investigating The Development Of Novel Therapies To Make The Old Immune System Young Again

By comparing the immune responses of both, young and old mice, to bacterial infection they found that the number of macrophages, one of the major cell populations involved in the elimination of infecting bacteria, decreases rapidly in aged mice. This decline in the number of fighters and the associated weakness of the immune defense may be responsible for the age-associated increase in susceptibility to infections. The HZI researchers have succeeded to enhance the resistance to an infection in aged mice by treating them with a macrophage-specific growth factor. This treatment increases the amount of macrophages in aged mice and improves their capacity to fight the infection.

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Cartilage Repair Can Improve Life, Ease Burden On Health Services

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the ten most disabling diseases in the developed world and is set to become more of a financial burden on health services as average life expectancy increases. OA is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans or 12.1% of the adult population of the United States, according to Laurence et al. A 2001 study showed that the disease costs US health services about $89.1 billion, 2 and indirect costs relating to wages and productivity losses and unplanned home care averaged $4603 per person.3 In a review for F1000 Medicine Reports, Yves Henrotin and Jean-Emile Dubuc examine the range of therapies currently on offer for repairing cartilaginous tissue.

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