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Cell transplant allows paralyzed man to walk again
Cell transplant allows paralyzed man to walk again
October 23, 2014

A ground-breaking cell transplant has allowed a paralyzed man to walk again, researchers announced Tuesday.

Polish man Darek Fidyka, 38, had been left paralyzed from the chest down after a 2010 knife attack caused an 8mm gap in his spinal cord. An initial 13 months of rehabilitation followed by an additional 8-month program before the experimental treatment had not produced an improvement in his condition, researchers said.

But two years after the 2012 cell transplant he can walk with the aid of a Zimmer frame, also known as a walker.

Scientists at University College London (UCL) developed the treatment, which saw olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the nose transplanted to Fidyka's spinal cord. OECs are what allow the sense of smell to return when nerve cells in the nose are damaged.

Surgeons at Wroclaw University in Poland led by Dr Pawel Tabakow injected the OECs above and below Fidyka's spinal cord gap, then used nerve tissue taken from his ankle to act as a bridge for spinal nerves to grow across, UCL said.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Can drinking soda make you age faster?
Can drinking soda make you age faster?
October 23, 2014

Soft drinks are a $61 billion a year business in the U.S. But could drinking soda shorten your life?

A new study in the American Journal of Public Health this week says the answer might just be yes.

The first-of-its-kind study looked at whether America's thirst for soda speeds up how the body's cells age. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, used a sample of 5,300 healthy adults.

"We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight," said Elissa Epel, who worked on the study for five years. "But this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight."

Epel's team discovered that in people who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages, the ends of their chromosomes, known as telomeres, were shorter. The shorter the telomere, the less a cell can regenerate, aging the body and raising the risk of disease and early death.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Texas hospital official: We are 'deeply sorry' about Ebola mistakes
Texas hospital official: We are 'deeply sorry' about Ebola mistakes
October 16, 2014

A Texas doctor has apologized for what he calls mistakes for how his hospital handled Ebola as schools close out of fear that they're vulnerable to the virus. Also on Thursday, officials are considering ordering that 76 hospital workers who treated an Ebola patient be ordered not to board airplanes.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a second nurse who tested positive for Ebola who flew a day before it was known that she might be suffering from the virus, should not have been cleared to fly. She reported to the agency that she had a fever, she said, but was told she could go ahead and continue her travel. Now 132 passengers on her flight are wondering if they were exposed.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

FDA approves first 2 drugs for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a deadly lung disease
FDA approves first 2 drugs for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a deadly lung disease
October 16, 2014

he Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug treatments for a deadly disease that causes severe lung damage.

The agency on Wednesday approved two novel treatments from Boehringer Ingelheim and Roche for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Patients with the disease experience lung damage over time that makes it difficult to breathe properly. Currently the disease is treated with oxygen therapy, rehabilitation and lung transplants.

Boehringer's Ofev and Roche's Esbriet both work by blocking mechanisms thought to cause lung scarring.

Pulmonary fibrosis can have multiple causes, including exposure to toxins and pollutants. The drugs approved Wednesday are for forms of the disease in which the cause is unknown. Many patients live less than five years after being diagnosed.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Ebola patient's death renews questions about care
Ebola patient's death renews questions about care
October 9, 2014

The death of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States renewed questions about his medical care and whether Thomas Eric Duncan's life could have been extended or saved if the Texas hospital where he first sought help had taken him in sooner.

Duncan died in Dallas on Wednesday, a little more than a week after his illness exposed gaps in the nation's defenses against the disease and set off a scramble to track down anyone exposed to him.

The 42-year-old Liberian man had been kept in isolation since Sept. 28 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where a fevered Duncan first showed up days earlier and told the staff he had been in West Africa. Doctors initially sent him home. He returned after his condition worsened.

Dr. Phil Smith is the director of the biocontainment center at the Nebraska Medical Center, where an NBC News freelance cameraman is being treated for Ebola. He said getting early treatment is key to survival.

When a patient reaches the point of needing dialysis and respiratory help, as Duncan did this week, there may be little doctors can do.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

What you should know about enterovirus-68
What you should know about enterovirus-68
October 9, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, a total of 594 people in 43 states and Washington, DC have confirmed with respiratory illness caused by enterovirus-68.

Health departments across the U.S. have reported increases and almost all cases confirmed have been in children.

The virus is said to cause mild to severe respiratory illness and spreads through contaminated surfaces coughs, and sneezes.

A child in New Jersey died after testing positive for EV-68. Fourteen children California have tested positive, and in St. Louis two children treated for paralysis were linked to EV-68.

Officials are urging people to seek medical help immediately if a child starts to lose feeling in their limbs.

EV-68 is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses. The CDC has released information on symptoms, protection and treatment.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Enterovirus spreads across the nation
Enterovirus spreads across the nation
October 2, 2014

There is another virus sweeping the country. The enterovirus mostly strikes children and causes a severe respiratory illness. In the past three weeks, it has spread from 12 states to 42 states plus D.C.

Nine-year-old Jayden Broadway started struggling for breath on a Friday afternoon. His mother Melissa Lewis says by the next day, she was rushing him to a Denver-area emergency room.

Lewis says it's "petrifying" to your child unable to breath. She says, "It is absolutely the scariest thing ever to see your child not be able to take a breath."

Doctors told Lewis her son had contracted the enterovirus D68. For most patients, the virus causes symptoms of the common cold. In children like Jayden with Asthma, symptoms can be more severe. Still, he was lucky. Doctors at the Children's Hospital Colorado have treated 10 children who came down with polio-like symptoms.

Dr. Teri Schreiner says it's not clear whether the virus is to blame. "It's very frustrating not to be able to give a good prognosis to these parents, who all of a sudden have a child with in some cases marked weakness of one or more of their limbs." She says it is potentially paralysis.

Health officials in Los Angeles reported a similar polio-like case Wednesday, of a child with the virus who also developed acute limb weakness.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Ebola prevention tips from the CDC
Ebola prevention tips from the CDC
October 2, 2014

The first confirmed U.S. case of Ebola in Texas has had ripple effects through the biotech and airline sectors Wednesday. Even a small maker of hazmat suits has seen its shares jump.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appears confident that the disease, which has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa, will not have the same impact in the U.S.

"We know how to stop Ebola's further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill person, and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms," said the CDC in a statement.

The CDC maintains a list of 6 steps to minimize the contagion risks.

Here are the preventive measures posted by the CDC on its website:

Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids.
Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals.
Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated.
After you return from a site with known Ebola cases, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediately if you develop symptoms of Ebola.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

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