Friday, December 13, 2013

Health research and outreach from KPBS and campuses on the campaign trail

It's time to post the rest of the health news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Die, Selfish Gene!).  Under the "if it moves, it leads" preference, KPBS starts off with San Diego Professor Discusses Warning Signs For Communication Difficulties In Children.

After a poll finds many caregivers are missing the warnings signs, a new campaign underway aims to educate them about identifying the signs of a communication disorder in children.
Also read the related story San Diego Professor Discusses Warning Signs For Communication Difficulties In Children.

Follow over the jump for more health research and outreach from UCSD, University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Georgia, and University of Kentucky.  Yes, it's an SEC night here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

UCSD: Brain Cancer Cells Hide While Drugs Seek
Tumor cells temporarily lose mutation to evade drugs targeting mutation
By Scott LaFee   
December 05, 2013
A team of scientists, led by principal investigator Paul S. Mischel, MD, a member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has found that brain cancer cells resist therapy by dialing down the gene mutation targeted by drugs, then re-amplify that growth-promoting mutation after therapy has stopped.

The findings are published in the December 5, 2013 online issue of Science.

“This discovery has considerable clinical implications because if cancer cells can evade therapy by a ‘hide-and-seek’ mechanism, then the current focus (of drug therapies) is unlikely to translate into better outcomes for patients,” said Mischel.
UCSD: UC San Diego Biophysicists Examine Development of Antibiotic Resistance
By Kim McDonald
December 05, 2013
A team of UC San Diego biophysicists used quantitative models of bacterial growth to discover the bizarre way by which antibiotic resistance allows bacteria to multiply in the presence of antibiotics, a growing health problem in hospitals and nursing homes across the United States.

Two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sobering report estimating that antibiotic-resistant bacteria last year caused more than two million illnesses and approximately 23,000 deaths in the United States. Treating these infections, the report said, added $20 billion last year to our already overburdened health care system.

Many approaches are now being employed by public health officials to limit the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria—such as limiting the use of antibiotics in livestock, controlling prescriptions of antibiotics and developing new drugs against bacteria already resistant to conventional drug treatments. But understanding how bacteria grow and evolve drug resistance could also help stop its spread by allowing scientists to target the process of evolution itself.
UCSD: Nanosponge Vaccine Fights MRSA Toxins
By Becky Ham and Daniel Kane   
December 02, 2013
Nanosponges that soak up a dangerous pore-forming toxin produced by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) could serve as a safe and effective vaccine against this toxin. This “nanosponge vaccine” enabled the immune systems of mice to block the adverse effects of the alpha-haemolysin toxin from MRSA—both within the bloodstream and on the skin. Nanoengineers from the University of California, San Diego described the safety and efficacy of this nanosponge vaccine in the December 1 issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

The nanosponges at the foundation of the experimental “toxoid vaccine” platform are bio-compatible particles made of a polymer core wrapped in a red-blood-cell membrane. Each nanosponge’s red-blood-cell membrane seizes and detains the Staphylococcus aureus (staph) toxin alpha-haemolysin without compromising the toxin’s structural integrity through heating or chemical processing. These toxin-studded nanosponges served as vaccines capable of triggering neutralizing antibodies and fighting off otherwise lethal doses of the toxin in mice.

Toxoid vaccines protect against a toxin or set of toxins, rather than the organism that produces the toxin(s). As the problem of antibiotic resistance worsens, toxoid vaccines offer a promising approach to fight infections without reliance on antibiotics.
University of Alabama, Birmingham: Heart failure after a heart attack is driven by immune cells made in the spleen
By Greg Williams
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack turns on immune cells in the spleen that accelerate heart failure, according to a study in mice published recently by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the journal Circulation Research.

prabhu_heart_sAfter a heart attack, the injured heart often enlarges and pumps with less efficiency in a process called remodeling as part of heart failure. While many factors contribute to remodeling, the current study focused on the role of inflammation, the body’s response to injury or infection, where immune cells destroy invading microbes and remove damaged tissue.

In autoimmune diseases, the same immune responses mistakenly target and injure healthy tissue and, given enough time, change their size and function. Inflammation is a known feature of heart failure, and it is associated with high levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines — including one called tumor necrosis factor alpha or TNF-a — that ramp up immune cell responses.
Auburn University: Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine using 3D technology in complicated surgeries
December 3, 2013
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – At Auburn University the latest in printing technology is literally going to the dogs, cats and other animals. Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine is among the first veterinary programs in the United States to use three-dimensional printing and models in advance of complicated surgeries.

A 3D printer builds up objects layer by layer, using various methods to deposit and harden the ‘ink’ where it is needed. Many materials, including plastic, metal and ceramic can now be printed based on instructions from computer-assisted design programs.

In the college’s Department of Clinical Sciences, the radiology section has begun using its newly-acquired Makerbot 3D printer to investigate ways to improve surgical planning. In its first week of use, the 3D printer was successfully used to provide a solution for a complicated surgical procedure before the surgery was performed.
University of Georgia: UGA kinesiology researchers find single bout of exercise boosts energy
Writer: Michael Childs
December 3, 2013
Athens, Ga. - Energy dips for many people during the day, reducing their ability to work, engage in recreation activities or otherwise enjoy life. According to a new University of Georgia study the solution is simple-exercise.

In a study published in the October issue of Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior, kinesiology researchers in UGA's College of Education found that a single bout of exercise consistently increases feelings of energy.
University of Kentucky: New UK Study Suggests Low Vitamin D Causes Damage to Brain
By Allison Perry
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2013) — A new study led by University of Kentucky researchers suggests that a diet low in vitamin D causes damage to the brain.

In addition to being essential for maintaining bone health, newer evidence shows that vitamin D serves important roles in other organs and tissue, including the brain. Published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the UK study showed that middle-aged rats that were fed a diet low in vitamin D for several months developed free radical damage to the brain, and many different brain proteins were damaged as identified by redox proteomics. These rats also showed a significant decrease in cognitive performance on tests of learning and memory.
And that's it for the fifth installment of health news this week.  The previous four were AIDS: The pandemic in our midst, Health and diet tips for the holidays, E-Cigs: A 21st Century health issue, and More ACA implementation from KPBS and UAB.

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