Thursday, April 23, 2015

Patient's own fat cells transplanted to treat osteoarthritis may be effective

Patient's own fat cells transplanted to treat osteoarthritis may be effective

Osteoarthritis (OA), a debilitating and painful degenerative disease, strikes an estimated 14 percent of adults 25 years of age and older, a third of adults age 65 and older in the U.S. alone. Those who suffer from OA may one day have a new and effective cell therapy, thanks to a team of Czech researchers who studied the effectiveness of using an OA patient's own adipose (fat) cells in a unique transplant therapy aimed at reducing the symptoms of this prevalent and difficult to treat condition as well as healing some of the damage caused by OA.
The Investigational Review Board of American Naturopathic Research Institute/Naturopathic Oncology Research Institute and local ethics committees-approved study, carried out with 1,114 OA volunteer patients who received autologous (self-donated) fat cell transplants after giving their informed consent, saw their symptoms improved by the therapy. The paper describing the study will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation and is currently freely available on-line as an unedited early e-pub at: http://ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-CT-1300_Michalek_et_al
"Adipose-derived cells have potential application in a wide range of clinical disorders, including myocardial infarction,strokeCrohn's diseasemultiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, and breast augmentation and reconstruction" said Dr. Jaroslav Michalek, of the International Consortium for Cell Therapy and Immunotherapy, and a member of a research team from a number of research facilities and organizations in the Czech Republic. "In this study we evaluated the safety and efficacy of freshly isolated autologous stromal vascular fraction cells (SVF cells). We hypothesized that the SVF cell treatment might contribute to cartilage healing."
Dr. Michalek and his colleagues clarified the use of the term SVF cells by noting that many scientific publications use the term adipose tissue as the source of adipose cells, but that the true source of SVF cells is not adipose but the stroma, the loose connective tissue part of the fat typically obtained by liposuction.
The study followed and evaluated 1,114 patients (median age 62, range 19-94 years; 52.8% male) treated with a single dose of SVF cells isolated from lipoaspirate by a patent pending kit (Cellthera). Patients were followed for between 12 and 54 months with a median of 17.2 months of follow-up. Their evaluations were based on pain, non-steroid analgesic usage, limping, extent of joint movement and stiffness before treatment and at three, six, and 12 months. Hip and knee joints were the most common joints treated and some patients had more than one joint treated.
"No serious side effects, systemic infection or cancer was associated with SVF cell therapy," reported the researchers. "Most patients improved gradually three to 12 months after treatment."  ...

Ophthalmologists uncover autoimmune process that causes rejection of secondary corneal transplants

Ophthalmologists uncover autoimmune process that causes rejection of secondary corneal transplants

UT Southwestern Medical Center ophthalmologists have identified an important cause of why secondary corneal transplants are rejected at triple the rate of first-time corneal transplants.
The cornea - the most frequently transplanted solid tissue - has a first-time transplantation success rate of about 90 percent. But second corneal transplants undergo a rejection rate three times that of first transplants.
"Understanding why these rejections occur is important to further improving the ways in which corneal transplants are performed," said the study's senior author Dr. Jerry Niederkorn, Professor and Vice Chair of Research of Ophthalmology, and Professor of Microbiology. "In the future, ophthalmologists may be able to implement processes, and eventually prescribe medications, that can lower the rates of rejection."
More than 40,000 transplants are performed annually to replace the cornea, the clear outer lens at the front of the eye, with tissue from a donor. Most corneal transplants are done to correct severe visual impairments caused by keratoconus, a condition in which the normally dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and becomes cone-shaped, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The high success rate of first-time corneal transplants is attributed to a process called immune privilege, which allows transplants to be successfully performed without matching the donor tissue to that of the recipient, as is required for organ transplants.
Although immune privilege accounts for the initial high success rate, it can occasionally fail, leading to the rejection of corneal transplants in approximately 10 percent of patients. In patients requiring a second transplant, the incidence of immune rejection rises to almost 70 percent.
"We believe that this loss of immune privilege is similar to an alarm that signals the immune system of potential infection, which results in a full blown immune response at the expense of the corneal transplant," said Dr. Niederkorn, who holds the Royal C. Miller Chair in Age-Related Macular Degeneration Research and the George A. and Nancy P. Shutt Professorship in Medical Science.  ...

CareDx cell-free DNA (cFDNA) biomarker in combination with AlloMap increases accuracy of identification of rejection in heart transplant

CareDx cell-free DNA (cFDNA) biomarker in combination with AlloMap increases accuracy of identification of rejection in heart transplant recipient

CareDx, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company focused on the development and commercialization of clinically differentiated, high value, non-invasive surveillance solutions for transplant recipients, today announced new evidence that the proportion of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) derived from the transplanted organ and found in the bloodstream of the recipient is correlated to the rejection status of the organ. Furthermore, this new biomarker (cfDNA) in combination with AlloMap, the Company's molecular diagnostic surveillance solution, provides greater accuracy of identification of rejection in heart transplant recipients than either test alone.
The analyses of blood samples from a subset of patients from the multicenter Cardiac Allograft Rejection Gene expression Observational study II (CARGO II) heart transplant observational study represent the first time that researchers have measured both cfDNA and gene expression profiles (AlloMap) in blood samples taken from the same patients. Dr. Maria G. Crespo-Leiro, a cardiologist from Hospital Universitario A Coruňa in Spain, presented the results today at the 35th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) held in Nice, France.
"While we've known that AlloMap can be used to rule out rejection in selected patients, now we have evidence that cfDNA is a promising biomarker to further assess the likelihood of heart-transplant rejection. These two non-invasive blood tests are complementary to one another and promise to further increase our knowledge of the status of a transplant recipient," said Dr. Crespo-Leiro.  ...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Addressing Kidney Transplant Concerns can Reduce Disparity in Access to Transplantation

Addressing Kidney Transplant Concerns can Reduce Disparity in Access to Transplantation

A new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reveals that a large number of kidney failure patients are worried about pursuing kidney transplantation and addressing these concerns could reduce disparities in access to transplantation.

There are thousands of patients with kidney failure who lack access to kidney transplantation, and disparities persist in terms of race, age, sex, and other patient characteristics. To improve access, it's important to understand the sources of these disparities. For example, are clinicians not referring their patients for transplantation, or are patients' concerns causing them to avoid transplantation despite appropriate referrals? Dorry Segev, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health) and his colleagues conducted a study to understand the concerns and perceived barriers that dialysis patients have about pursuing transplantation, and what patient characteristics are associated with such concerns.
Among 348 adults who recently initiated dialysis and were recruited from 26 free-standing dialysis centers around Baltimore between 2009 and 2012, the most frequently cited concerns were that participants felt they were doing fine on dialysis (68.4%) and felt uncomfortable asking someone to donate a kidney (29.9%). Older age was independently associated with having high health-related or psychosocial concerns, as was being a woman, being less educated, and having more comorbid illnesses. Patients having such concerns had less than half the chance of getting listed for a transplant than those without them. Having never seen a kidney specialist before initiating dialysis was linked with high psychosocial concerns.   ...

After lung transplantation: Go back to work and feel better

After lung transplantation: Go back to work and feel better

Medical News Today-
Returning to everyday life and resuming work in one's regular occupation are common goals of transplant patients, yet not all who undergo lung transplantation can go back to work.
In an original article in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International , Hendrik Suhling and coauthors report the findings of the first study ever performed in Germany on the percentage of lung-transplant patients who resume employment after transplantation and the reasons that keep the others from going back to work.

In a cross-sectional study, these researchers evaluated the responses to a socioeconomic questionnaire filled out by more than 530 patients who had undergone lung transplantation in 2009 or 2010. More than one in three returned to employment, but most of the employed patients worked only part-time. The employed patients reported a higher quality of life than the unemployed ones. They did not experience transplant complications such as frequent infection or organ rejection any more commonly than the others did, and they were absent from work for medical reasons only slightly more frequently than the general population.  ...

Ten diseases where medical marijuana could have impact

Ten diseases where medical marijuana could have impact

Dr. Sanjay Gupta puts medical marijuana under the microscope again with "WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution
"There's just a few medications on the market that work, and even these can be inadequate," Sisley said. "They end up getting stuck on eight, 10, 12 different medications, and after taking so many, suddenly they're like zombies."
Some of these patients though were starting to feel better. They also seemed much more present. She wanted to know what was making a difference. They told her they found an alternative to all those medicines.
They were self-medicating with marijuana.
"I was really stunned and more and more patients were coming out of the shadows and disclosing to me that they were having some useful experiences with the marijuana plant," Sisley said.
She appreciated the progress they said they were making, but like any good scientist she didn't want to rely on anecdotal evidence. She wanted documented proof, clinical trials of large patient populations that run in the gold standard of a peer-reviewed journal that marijuana was the right approach to treating PTSD, or any other ailment for that matter. People use it to treat a variety of medical issues, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, chronic pain, Alzheimer's, cancer and others.
With medical marijuana legal in nearly half of the states, more doctors are wondering what impact this drug really has on people. They ask for dosage information. They want to know about its long-term impact on patients.
Sisley looked for answers to these questions in medical research, but she didn't see much. When she decided to do the studies herself and applied for federal approval, she was met with miles of red tape and resistance -- like many other researchers before her.
That's because marijuana is one of the tightest-controlled substances under federal law. The U.S. government considers it a Schedule I drug, meaning the Drug Enforcement Administration considers it to have no medical value. It's right up there with heroin and LSD. To do research on marijuana, scientists need approval from several federal departments. And that approval is rare.
Most marijuana studies focus on the harm caused by the plant. The studies on its medicinal qualities are small, early stage or observational at best. "Mainstream physicians won't come near the stuff, even if they hear that it works, because without the research, without it approved in legitimate practice guidelines, they are going to worry about their license and their professionalism," Sisley said. "That's why it is key to have randomized control trials for this to work."
A bipartisan bill -- from Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York -- called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015 was introduced in the Senate in March that would ease some of those restrictions and make it easier to study the drug. But the legislation is in committee at the moment. If it does ever pass, and scientists can begin studying the drug in earnest, there are several areas they may target in addition to PTSD.

Here are 10 of them, based on the ailments people commonly use medical marijuana to treat. Again, because there is such limited research on this topic, these areas are based on results that CNN would typically not report on because the work is in a far too early stage to see if it really works. But that is the point some doctors and medical researchers are making.  ...

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Innovative strategies needed to address the US transplant organ shortage

Innovative strategies needed to address the US transplant organ shortage


As the United States faces transplant waiting lists that continue to grow longer over time, there is increasing debate about the proper way to incentivize living donations. Transplant professionals are trying to find ways to eliminate any financial disincentives without crossing the line to paying for organs. A new article published in the American Journal of Transplantation highlights possible solutions discussed by leaders within the American Society of Transplantation (AST) and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) at a recent workshop.
Due to organ shortages, thousands of Americans are on transplant waiting lists for 5 or more years as their health deteriorates, and more than 1,000 of them die each year. The AST and ASTS leaders have conceived an "arc of change" that starts with immediate work to remove all financial disincentives to organ donation for both living and deceased donors. They also believe that solving the organ shortage will require more action than simply removing disincentives.
"As we follow the arc of change from removing disincentives like loss of wages and travel costs, we must move to considering incentives for donation like health insurance post-donation to ensure the long-term safety of donors," said lead author Daniel Salomon, MD, of The Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla. "However, when speaking in terms of removing disincentives and considering incentives, there is little agreement on exactly where the line exists separating the two." Dr. Salomon, who helped organize the workshop with Alan Langnas, DO, of the University of Nebraska, noted that it is important to involve a wide range of stakeholders - including physicians and surgeons, government officials, patients and families, ethicists, and legal scholars - in discussions on how to define that line.  ... 

Heart Groups Issue Updated Blood Pressure Guidelines

Heart Groups Issue Updated Blood Pressure Guidelines


News Picture: Heart Groups Issue Updated Blood Pressure GuidelinesBy Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter Three leading groups of heart experts have issued updated guidelines that set blood pressure goals for people with heart disease. Specifically, the guidelines reinforce a target blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg for those at risk for heart attack and stroke. The guidelines also set a goal of 130/80 mm Hg for those with heart disease who have already had a heart attack, stroke or a ministroke, or who have had a narrowing of their leg arteries or an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
However, the new guidelines are intended to be more flexible than ones crafted in 2007, said Dr. Clive Rosendorff, chairman of the committee that wrote the updated guidelines. Ultimately, the blood pressure goal any individual patient tries to achieve should be left to the discretion of the doctor and the patient.
For example, the lower goal may not be appropriate for older, frail patients who might experience dizziness if their blood pressure drops too much.
"Guidelines are simply that, guidelines, they are not inflexible rules," Rosendorff said.
The updated guidelines, from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Hypertension, were published March 31 in the journal Hypertension.
"In patients with heart disease, untreated high blood pressure is a major risk for heart attack and stroke," said Rosendorff, who is also a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Rosendorff said these guidelines are for patients with heart disease. New blood pressure guidelines for people who have high blood pressure but do not have heart disease are in the works, but those won't be released for some time, he said.
High blood pressure has become a growing problem in the United States during the past decade, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall death rate from high blood pressure has increased 23 percent since 2000, even as the death rate from all other causes has dropped 21 percent. That spike was seen in both genders and was most marked among those aged 45 to 64 and those over 85.
According to Rosendorff, one change in the updated guidelines is a concise statement about which drugs should be used to lower blood pressure in patients with heart disease.
"There are three drugs which have been shown to improve outcomes," he said. These include beta-blockers that slow the heart rate and reduce the force of cardiac contraction and also increase blood flow to the heart, Rosendorff said.
The guidelines also recommend angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), which increase the size of blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure, and diuretics that lower blood pressure by reducing the amount of fluid in the body.  ...


New Stroke Prevention Efforts May Be Paying Off

New Stroke Prevention Efforts May Be Paying Off


News Picture: New Stroke Prevention Efforts May Be Paying OffBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter  (HealthDay News) -- Fewer people are being treated in U.S. emergency rooms for strokes caused by blood clots in the brain, which experts read as a sign that current stroke prevention methods are working.
The rate of emergency department visits for either a stroke or a mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) -- a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain -- decreased dramatically between 2001 and 2011, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
Such ER visits declined 35 percent for adults 18 and older, and 51 percent for those 55 to 74, said the report from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
The statistics mirror a "dramatic reduction in stroke fatality in the country, which we believe is likely due to better control of risk factors," said Dr. Larry Goldstein, chief of the division of stroke and vascular neurology and director of the Duke Stroke Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
People are preventing strokes by taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and medications to control high blood pressure, Goldstein said. In addition, fewer people are smoking, which is a leading risk factor for stroke, and indoor air laws are limiting nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke.   ... 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Penn Medicine Surgeons Perform First Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion Transplantation in the Philadelphia Region

Penn Medicine Surgeons Perform First Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion Transplantation in the Philadelphia Region

PHILADELPHIA — Transplant surgeons at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have successfully used a new technique that repairs damaged donated lungs that would have been unusable, allowing for successful transplantation of the reconditioned lungs into a patient. The patient, a 66-year-old man from the Philadelphia suburbs, was transplanted at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and is the first in the region to receive donated lungs using this new procedure.
“ Known as ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP), the new technique is applied to donor lungs outside of the body before transplantation with the goal of improving recovery practices and expanding the pool of organs available for patients in need of lung transplantation.
Chronic lung disease affects 35 million Americans, results in 400,000 deaths, and causes a public health burden exceeding $150 billion each year. Lung transplantation is the only life-saving therapy for patients with end-stage lung disease, however, the procedure has limited availability because not all donor lungs are safe for transplantation. This shortage of donor lungs results in the death of 20 percent of lung transplant candidates awaiting transplant.

"In the U.S., only 15-20 percent of potential donors have viable lungs for transplantation," said Edward Cantu, MD, assistant professor of Surgery, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, at Penn. "Donor lungs are susceptible to injuries from excess fluid accumulation, bacteria, or damage from intensive care unit-related complications, rendering them medically unsuitable for transplantation. EVLP is a new method that allows the transplant team time to accurately assess and optimize function of these injured donor lungs that would otherwise not be used. With this new technique, we could potentially double the number of usable lungs for patients awaiting transplantation." . ...

What to do with kidneys from older deceased donors?

What to do with kidneys from older deceased donors?

A new study highlights the best way to use kidneys from older deceased donors, providing the most benefits to patients and addressing the worsening organ shortage. The study's findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), could lead to changes in current transplant allocation policies.
The number of patients waiting for a kidney transplant in the United States recently eclipsed 100,000, yet most kidneys recovered from deceased donors aged 65 years or older are discarded.  ...

Black bear may hold secret to cure for kidney disease

Black bear may hold secret to cure for kidney disease

BAR HARBOR, Maine — One of Maine’s iconic forest dwellers may just harbor clues that could lead to better treatment and ultimately a cure for human kidney disease.
Researchers at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor are studying black bear kidneys in an effort to determine how the animals are able to regenerate the organ every year after spending the winter in near kidney failure.
“During hibernation [the bear] kidney is damaged, and the kidney function decreases to a level comparable to that of a human dialysis patient,” said Dr. Ron Korstanje, Jackson Laboratory assistant professor and lead researcher on the bear kidney project. “We know that in humans, a dialysis patient does not recover unless they receive a kidney transplant.”
But bears, somehow, are able to regain full kidney function after coming out of hibernation.
“We do not know how they are able to do that,” Korstanje said. “We are trying to understand what processes are going on in the bear kidneys, allowing them to recover and have perfectly working kidneys again.”
Gaining that understanding, Korstanje said, could help with the discovery of new treatments for human kidney disease.
More than 43 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, costing more than $42 billion a year, nearly a quarter of the country’s Medicare budget.
“Kidney disease is a really big issue in humans,” said Dr. Deborah Eustis-Grandy, chair of the science department at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone but who is on sabbatical at The Jackson Lab. “If scientists can figure out how bears regenerate their kidneys, this could lead to avenues for treating kidney disease.”
While at Jackson, Eustis-Grandy is studying digitized slides of bear kidney tissue and measuring key cellular structures.
At first glance, a bear kidney and a human kidney have little resemblance to each other, Eustis-Grandy said.
A human kidney is smooth, uniform and full of capillaries and structures that filter impurities out of the blood as it passes through the organ.
A bear kidney, on the other hand, comprises numerous lobes that each look and act like a miniature human kidney, Eustis-Grandy said.
“The main thing the body is trying to get rid of is a type of waste called urea,” she said. “If it is not removed from the blood, it can build up and become toxic. When people with kidney failure are on dialysis, the main purpose is to remove urea from the blood.”
In the case of hibernating bears, that urea is retained in the bloodstream and serves as a source for protein synthesis as the bears metabolize and live off their fatty stores.
“There is a lot of speculation on what is going on with this,” Eustis-Grandy said. “We do know there is a reduction of blood flow in the [bear] kidneys in the winter, but we don’t know of any documented specific structural [kidney] abnormalities and [documenting] that is one of the things I am trying to do.  ...

1000-year-old recipe kills MRSA superbug

1000-year-old recipe kills MRSA superbug

The 10th-century "eyesalve" remedy was discovered at the British Library in a leather-bound volume of Bald's Leechbook, widely considered to be one of the earliest known medical textbooks.
Christina Lee, an expert on Anglo-Saxon society from the School of English at the University of Nottingham, translated the ancient manuscript despite some ambiguities in the text.
"We chose this recipe in Bald's Leechbook because it contains ingredients such as garlic that are currently investigated by other researchers on their potential antibiotic effectiveness," Lee said in a video posted on the university's website.
"And so we looked at a recipe that is fairly straightforward. It's also a recipe where we are told it's the 'best of leechdoms' -- how could you not test that? So we were curious."
Lee enlisted the help of the university's microbiologists to see if the remedy actually worked.
The recipe calls for two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek), wine and oxgall (bile from a cow's stomach) to be brewed in a brass vessel.
"We recreated the recipe as faithfully as we could. The Bald gives very precise instructions for the ratio of different ingredients and for the way they should be combined before use, so we tried to follow that as closely as possible," said microbiologist Freya Harrison, who led the work in the lab at the School of Life Sciences.
The book included an instruction for the recipe to be left to stand for nine days before being strained through a cloth. Efforts to replicate the recipe exactly included finding wine from a vineyard known to have existed in the ninth century, according to Steve Diggle, an associate professor of sociomicrobiology, who also worked on the project.
The researchers then tested their recipe on cultures of MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacterium that does not respond to commonly used antibiotic treatments.

The scientists weren't holding out much hope that it would work -- but they were astonished by the lab results.  ...

MS drug 'may already be out there'

MS drug 'may already be out there'

By Sarah Bloch

  • 31 March 2015
  •  
  • From the section
Fluoxetine
Depression and heart-disease drugs are to be tested in a trial to find treatments for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) from existing medicines.
There are currently no treatments in the secondary progressive stage of the debilitating disease.
Doctors hope the necessary drugs are already out there, but have never been tested on MS.
More than 400 people will take part in the trial at University College London and the University of Edinburgh.
Walking, balance, speech, and vision become impaired in the later stages of the disease.
There are treatments in the early phases of MS to prevent the frequency or severity of relapses. But there is nothing once the disease progresses.

Repurpose

The MS-Smart trial will test the safety and effectiveness of three drugs used in other conditions:
  • Amiloride - licensed to treat heart disease
  • Fluoxetine - used in depression
  • Riluzole - for Motor Neurone Disease
They were identified after a review of previously published research into drugs that appear to protect the nerves from damage.
Researchers believe these treatments could slow down the progress of MS and the trial will be the first time they have been tested on such a large number of patients.
Dr Jeremy Chataway, a consultant neurologist and lead researcher on the trial based at UCL, said there was "huge unmet need".
He told the BBC: "It may be the case that we have already invented the drugs we need to treat MS.
"In the same way that aspirin was developed as a painkiller and is now used to treat stroke patients, we may well have invented the drugs that we need, we just don't know that they work in different situations than what they were invented for.
"One of the advantages is they are very cheap, and we know a great deal about them as they have been tested on millions of people around the world in their original indication.
"So it's much more of a running start when we use drugs that we aim to repurpose."
Prof Siddharthan Chandran, a clinical neurologist at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This is a landmark study that seeks to not only test three potential treatments, but also showcase a new approach to clinical trials for progressive neurological conditions."
MS-Smart is a phase two trial, making sure the drugs are safe and demonstrate sufficient effectiveness before they are tested in a larger number of people.
If successful, it could lead to new ways of using the existing drugs to modify the way the disease develops.
line

Sanjay Chadha

Sanjay Chadha
It is the first time Sanjay Chadha, 47, has had any real hope for his condition.
He has lived with progressively worsening MS for 25 years, and is now a wheelchair-user with round-the-clock care.
He said: "In recent years, as my MS has progressed into secondary progressive MS, those treatments aren't available to help stop the accumulation of disability, which just seems to weaken the whole body.
"It's very dispiriting and - I hate to use the word - depressing that there's very little that can stop the symptoms and give me some kind of control and some kind of certainty for the future.
"To have even some kind of hope that there is some kind of possibility of something that might help - it's that word 'hope'.
"It's so meaningful for somebody in my situation. Living is hard enough, but to live with no hope is even harder."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

American with Ebola Now in Critical Condition

American with Ebola Now in Critical Condition

CDC monitoring other health care workers who may have had contact with the patient
HealthDay news image MONDAY, March 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The condition of an unidentified American health care worker infected with Ebola in West Africa has been downgraded from serious to critical, doctors at the U.S. National Institutes of Health said Monday.
No other details about the patient, who works with the Boston-based non-profit Partners in Health, were being made available, officials said. The patient is being treated at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.
The worker was flown in isolation on a chartered flight to the United States from Sierra Leone on Friday and was then admitted to the high-level containment facility in Maryland.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, besides the patient in Maryland, 11 other Partners in Health workers have been brought to the United States for monitoring. They include four taken to Atlanta to be near Emory University Hospital; four taken to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and three others who arrived in the Washington, D.C., area on Sunday to be near the NIH hospital in Bethesda, the Associated Press reported.
The health providers were also working in Sierra Leone, one of three West African nations hit hard by the Ebola outbreak that began last year.
The CDC said it continues to conduct "contact tracing" of individuals in Sierra Leone who may interacted with the patient now undergoing treatment in Maryland.
The Maryland patient is the 11th person with Ebola to be treated in the United States since August. Of the first 10 people treated for Ebola in the United States, eight survived and two died.
The death toll in the largest-ever Ebola outbreak has passed 10,000, the World Health Organization reported last week.
Nearly all the victims have been in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Only 15 Ebola deaths have occurred in other countries: Mali, Nigeria and the United States, the Associated Press reported.

SOURCES: U.S. National Institutes of Health, news release, March 16, 2015; Associated Press

Medical News Today: Diabetes drugs may promote heart failure, study finds

Medical News Today: Diabetes drugs may promote heart failure, study finds


Patients who manage type 2 diabetes with drugs that lower glucose or blood sugar may be at higher risk for heart failure. This was the finding of a comprehensive analysis of clinical trials covering more than 95,000 patients reported in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. The study was also presented at the 64th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology in San Diego, CA, earlier this week.
Heart failure - where the heart does not pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure - is a common condition in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Heart failure has a major impact on the quality of life of patients and is a major driver of health care costs in the US.  .. 

Medical News Today: New cholesterol-lowering drug 'could halve risk of heart attack, stroke'

Medical News Today: New cholesterol-lowering drug 'could halve risk of heart attack, stroke'


Currently, statin therapy is the standard treatment for many patients with high cholesterol. But a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine claims a drug called evolocumab could be much more effective; it reduced cholesterol levels so dramatically that patients' risk of cardiovascular events - such as heart attack and stroke - fell by more than half, compared with those receiving standard therapy alone. Lead study author Dr. Marc Sabatine, a senior physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, and colleagues recently presented their findings at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego, CA.
The study was a 1-year extension of 12 phase 2 and 3 clinical trials that had assessed evolocumab's ability to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol - commonly referred to as "bad" cholesterol because of the role it plays in blocking the arteries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 71 million Americans have high LDL cholesterol - blood levels at 160 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher. High LDL cholesterol can raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.
The 4,465 patients involved in the study had been a part of at least one of the previous trials investigating evolocumab, which works by blocking a protein that stops the liver from removing LDL cholesterol from the blood - called proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin 9 (PCSK9).
Of the participants, 2,976 were randomized to receive an injection of evolocumab under the skin every 2 or 4 weeks plus standard therapy, while 1,489 patients received standard therapy alone, which mostly involved moderate- or high-intensity statin therapy. The average follow-up duration was 11.1 months.  .. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Medical News Today: Mental and physical exercises may protect against cognitive decline in the elderly

Medical News Today: Mental and physical exercises may protect against cognitive decline in the elderly


The results of the first ever randomized controlled trial investigating a comprehensive program to slow cognitive decline among older people have been published in The Lancet. Earlier today, Medical News Today reported on the results of a study published in the journal Neurology that suggested physical activity may protect seniors from the effects of brain damage on motor function.
That study, conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, found that the most active participants were unaffected by greater volumes of "white matter hyperintensities" - small areas of damage found in the brains of older people that are associated with impaired motor functioning.
In the study published in The Lancet, researchers from Sweden and Finland examined the effects on brain function of an intervention addressing assorted risk factors for age-related dementia.
These important risk factors included high body mass index (BMI) and heart health, and the intervention included healthy eating guidance, exercise, brain training and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors.
From across Finland, 1,260 participants aged between 60 and 77 were recruited for the study. Based on scores of standardized tests, all of the participants were considered to be at risk of dementia. Half were randomized into the intervention group and half formed a control group.
Those in the intervention group participated in regular meetings over 2 years with health professionals, where participants were provided with "comprehensive advice" on maintaining a healthy diet, muscle and cardiovascular training, mental exercises and how to use blood tests and other means to manage metabolic and vascular risk factors.  ... 

Medical News Today: Satisfying thirst and the kidneys: the importance of drinking water

Medical News Today: Satisfying thirst and the kidneys: the importance of drinking water


Many people may take drinking water for granted, but keeping hydrated can have a huge impact on overall health. Despite how crucial it is that people drink enough water, a significant amount of people may be failing to drink recommended levels of fluids each day. Around of 70% of the body is comprised of water, and around of 71% of the planet's surface is covered by water. Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of water that means that drinking enough of it each day is not at the top of many people's lists of healthy priorities?
One part of the body that relies on adequate water intake is the kidneys. The kidneys are organs that might not get as much attention as the heart or lungs, but they are responsible for many functions that help keep the body as healthy as possible.
But what happens to the kidneys when we do not drink enough water? And what can be done to improve our levels of hydration? On World Kidney Day, we take a look at the role of drinking enough water for two of the most important organs in the body.  ... 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Who are the anti-vaxxers in Canada? New poll profiles resistant group

Who are the anti-vaxxers in Canada? New poll profiles resistant group

In this Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 photo, a pediatrician holds a dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
While some anti-vaxxer parents in Canada may be highly educated or come from wealthy households, the main reason why this group is turning down vaccination is for health reasons. This is the typical profile of the Canadian parent who has unvaccinated children, according to a new poll.
As measles cases pop up across the country, pollsters at Mainstreet Technologies zero in on anti-vaxxers in Canada. The previous results say that 20 per cent of respondents thought that vaccines are linked to autism.  ...read more 

New CPR Devices Approved

New CPR Devices Approved

MONDAY, March 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A pair of new CPR devices designed to help save people whose hearts stop beating has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The ResQCPR System involves two devices used together to help people who require CPR outside the hospital. Some 300,000 Americans each year require out-of-hospital CPR, the FDA said Monday in a news release.
"Most people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die," said Dr. William Maisel, acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "The ResQCPR System may increase oxygenated blood circulation during CPR," which may boost the chances of survival for those patients.
The first device, the ResQPump Active Compression Decompression CPR Device, attaches to a person's chest with a suction cup, making it easier for a rescuer to perform compressions and decompressions, the FDA said.
The second unit, the ResQPod 16.0 Impedance Threshold Device, fits onto a rescue mask or breathing tube, and helps reduce pressure inside the patient's chest. This procedure, known as preloading, helps draw more blood to the heart.
Used together, the devices help increase the amount of oxygenated blood that circulates through the patient's body during CPR, the FDA said.

Side effects observed during clinical testing were similar to those of standard CPR, the agency said. In addition, people using the new devices had a higher risk of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) than people who received standard CPR.