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Stem Cells Rescue Nerve Cells By Direct Contact

Scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown how transplanted stem cells can connect with and rescue threatened neurons and brain tissue. The results point the way to new possible treatments for brain damage and neurodegenerative diseases. A possible strategy for treating neurodegenerative diseases is to transplant stem cells into the brain that prevent existing nerve cells from dying. The method has proved successful in different models, but the mechanisms behind it are still unknown. According to one hypothesis, the stem cells mature into fully-mature neurons that communicate with the threatened brain tissue;

German Man Bridged-to-Transplant After 615 Days Of Life With SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart

Bobby Dhawan, 51, is the owner of a successful taxi service in Germany. Normally, he does not allow bumper stickers to be placed on his cabs, but recently, he made a special exception for a sticker which reads, "Don't take your organs to heaven - heaven knows we need them here! " Last August, Dhawan received a donor heart transplant after living for 615 days with a SynCardia temporary CardioWest™ Total Artificial Heart. For nearly a year and a half prior to his transplant, Dhawan had enjoyed life at home with his family and gone back to work using the European portable driver to power his Total Artificial Heart. "With the Total Artificial Heart, my health was so good and I felt so strong.

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Transplant Tourism Poses Ethical Dilemma For U.S. Doctors

A recent case study by doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York examined the ethical issues posed by transplant tourism, an offshoot of medical tourism, which focuses solely on transplantation surgery. Many American transplant professionals frown on the practice of transplant tourism where patients travel to countries such as China, India, and the Philippines for their transplantation. These transplant tourists may be subject to sub-standard surgical techniques, poor organ matching, unhealthy donors, and post transplant infections, prompting U.S. health care institutions to refuse treatment of these patients upon return to the U.S.

West Nile Virus Thwarted By Therapeutic From Tobacco Plant

A new therapeutic made from tobacco plants has been shown to arrest West Nile virus infection, according to a new study by Arizona State University scientist Qiang Chen and his colleagues. Chen, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and professor in the PolyTechnic Campus' College of Technology and Innovation, is the first to demonstrate a plant-derived treatment to successfully combat West Nile virus after exposure and infection. The research appears in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (advanced online edition). There are currently no available vaccines against West Nile, nor effective therapeutics for human use, so the current findings are a considerable advancement and may offer the best hope thus far that the West Nile virus infection can be stopped, even several days after viral infection.

Anti-Inflammatory Agent Can Limit And Reverse The Progression Of Graft-Versus-Host Disease After Transplant

If a team of American scientists are right, bone marrow transplants may become safer and more available to people in need of donations. In a new research paper appearing in the February 2010 print edition of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, they explain how an anti-inflammatory agent called "ATL146e" may significantly improve the likelihood of success for bone marrow transplants by preventing or halting the progression of graft-versus-host disease, a complication of bone marrow transplants in which the donor marrow attacks the host. Although very rare, graft-versus-host disease can also occur after blood transfusions. "We hope that this study is the first step in the development and implementation of a new treatment for graft-versus-host disease, " said Courtney M.

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Experimental Vaccine Reduced TB Rate Among HIV-Positive People In Tanzania, Study Finds

An experimental vaccine was found to reduce the rate of tuberculosis infections in patients living with HIV, "the first time a shot has been shown to reduce cases of the most common AIDS-related cause of death in poor nations, " Bloomberg reports (Bennett, 1/29). Tuberculosis accounts for up to one-third of AIDS deaths worldwide, CBC News reports. The study, which was published online Friday in the journal AIDS, found the "MV vaccine reduced the rate of tuberculosis by 39 percent" among study participants, CBC News writes (1/29). "The vaccine works by boosting the immune responses of patients who have already been given the BCG vaccine earlier in life, " which is the only TB vaccine currently available, BBC writes (1/30).

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