DAVID GRANOVSKY

Archive for the ‘HEALTH AND WELLNESS’ Category

Innovation in the Treatment of PTSD

In HEALTH AND WELLNESS, HOPE AND INSPIRATION, OFF THE BEATEN PATH on February 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm

perspective

Time to change our perspective on PTSD treatments

Quite often, advances in treatment modalities are not from new drugs or new techniques but rather, from:

  • redefining our definitions of disease
  • redefining existing treatment methods
  • redefining our definition of recovery

Here’s one such example where the common convention of “in-person therapy sessions” for PTSD is modified by the simple removal of the “in-person” and replacing it…with teleconferencing.  Such a small change to you and me but it makes a significant difference to the patient and…isn’t that the true end goal?

For veterans who may have difficulty attending in-person therapy sessions to treat post traumatic stress disorder, a recent study has shown that treatment through video conferences, or “telemedicine,” can be just as effective.

Many individuals in need of PTSD services live in remote areas around the world where mental health care tends to be scarce. Traveling great distances in order to access this specific type of care is not always ideal, especially for those who already suffer from mental health problems, and it can also be a financial burden. Providing telemental health technology to individuals who would otherwise not be able to experience PTSD treatment is easing these burdens.

Offering both clinical and educational services, telemedicine utilizes communications technology in support and healthcare when distance becomes an issue. These services can include clinical assessment, psychotherapy (for individuals or groups), cognitive tests, and even general psychiatry.

Compared to prolonged exposure therapy conducted in the homes of patients, telemedicine yielded extremely similar results in terms of effectiveness. While some may argue that in-person treatment allows for a more personal, realistic style of therapy, statistics have shown that those who received the same treatment via video screens had similar levels of improvement.

Despite these results, therapy provided through the internet is among the most disputed forms of telemental health services available, due to the previously mentioned fact; it is less personal. Doctors and therapists have feared that their lack of physical presence allows for the patients to react negatively without control, though studies have proved otherwise.

An extremely important consideration in working with those who suffer from PTSD is establishing a sense of safety and comfort, which may prove difficult without actually being in the room. Tools and techniques that therapists have used in order to combat this obstacle include pre-treatment orientation sessions, utilizing fax machines or email to share documents and paperwork, and questionnaires allowing room for criticism or feedback.

Regardless of the criticism, the results of this study prove that there are very little differences in the outcomes of both in-person treatment and telemental treatment. This could change how mental health services are provided on several different platforms, as well as offer new ideas in the treatment of such problems.

For more, visit BennWillcox.co!

Source: Innovation in the Treatment of PTSD

INTER-SPECIES PANCREAS TRANSPLANT REVERSES DIABETES

In HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Color Rat Laboratory Cage Mammal Rat Rodent Pet

Let’s take a page out of what was not too long ago science fiction; which is now science-fact.

  • A pancreas was grown in a rat,
  • the organ was transplanted into a mouse,
  • the mouse was given immunosuppressive therapy to prevent rejection,
  • the diabetic mice were able to normalize their blood glucose levels for over a year.

This illustrates the long proven regenerative capacity of stem cells and the recent advancements scientists have made with anti-rejection protocols…And of course, the cool inter-species transplant of rat to mouse.

Rat-grown mouse pancreases help reverse diabetes in mice

Growing organs from one species in the body of another may one day relieve transplant shortages. Now researchers show that islets from rat-grown mouse pancreases can reverse disease when transplanted into diabetic mice.

White rat with black patches

A rat in which researchers were able to grow a mouse pancreas. Islets from the pancreases were transplanted into mice with diabetes. The transplants helped control the mice’s blood sugar levels.
Courtesy of the Nakauchi lab

 Mouse pancreases grown in rats generate functional, insulin-producing cells that can reverse diabetes when transplanted into mice with the disease, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo.

The recipient animals required only days of immunosuppressive therapy to prevent rejection of the genetically matched organ rather than lifelong treatment.

The success of the interspecies transplantation suggests that a similar technique could one day be used to generate matched, transplantable human organs in large animals like pigs and sheep.

To conduct the work, the researchers implanted mouse pluripotent stem cells, which can become any cell in the body, into early rat embryos. The rats had been genetically engineered to be unable to develop their own pancreas and were thus forced to rely on the mouse cells for the development of the organ.

Once the rats were born and grown, the researchers transplanted the insulin-producing cells, which cluster together in groups called islets, from the rat-grown pancreases into mice genetically matched to the stem cells that formed the pancreas. These mice had been given a drug to cause them to develop diabetes.

“We found that the diabetic mice were able to normalize their blood glucose levels for over a year after the transplantation of as few as 100 of these islets,” said Hiromitsu Nakauchi, MD, PhD, a professor of genetics at Stanford. “Furthermore, the recipient animals only needed treatment with immunosuppressive drugs for five days after transplantation, rather than the ongoing immunosuppression that would be needed for unmatched organs.”

Nakauchi, who is a member of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, is the senior author of a paper describing the findings, which was published online Jan. 25 in Nature. Tomoyuki Yamaguchi, PhD, an associate professor of stem cell therapy, and researcher Hideyuki Sato, both from the University of Tokyo, share lead authorship of the paper.

Hiro Nakauchi

Although much research remains to be done, scientist Hiromitsu Nakauchi and his colleagues believe their work with rodents shows that a similar technique could one day be used to generate matched, transplantable human organs in large animals like pigs and sheep.
Wing Hon Films

Organs in short supply

About 76,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for an organ transplant, but organs are in short supply. Generating genetically matched human organs in large animals could relieve the shortage and release transplant recipients from the need for lifelong immunosuppression, the researchers say.

People suffering from diabetes could also benefit from this approach. Diabetes is a life-threating metabolic disease in which a person or animal is unable to either make or respond appropriately to insulin, which is a hormone that allows the body to regulate its blood sugar levels in response to meals or fasting. The disease affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and is increasing in prevalence. The transplantation of functional islets from healthy pancreases has been shown to be a potentially viable option to treat diabetes in humans, as long as rejection can be avoided.

The researchers’ current findings come on the heels of a previous study in which they grew rat pancreases in mice. Although the organs appeared functional, they were the size of a normal mouse pancreas rather than a larger rat pancreas. As a result, there were not enough functional islets in the smaller organs to successfully reverse diabetes in rats.

Mouse pancreases grown in rats

In the current study, the researchers swapped the animals’ roles, growing mouse pancreases in rats engineered to lack the organ. The pancreases were able to successfully regulate the rats’ blood sugar levels, indicating they were functioning normally. Rejection of the mouse pancreases by the rats’ immune systems was uncommon because the mouse cells were injected into the rat embryo prior to the development of immune tolerance, which is a period during development when the immune system is trained to recognize its own tissues as “self.” Most of these mouse-derived organs grew to the size expected for a rat pancreas, rendering enough individual islets for transplantation

Next, the researchers transplanted 100 islets from the rat-grown pancreases back into mice with diabetes. Subsequently, these mice were able to successfully control their blood sugar levels for over 370 days, the researchers found.

Because the transplanted islets contained some contaminating rat cells, the researchers treated each recipient mouse with immunosuppressive drugs for five days after transplant. After this time, however, the immunosuppression was stopped.

After about 10 months, the researchers removed the islets from a subset of the mice for inspection.

“We examined them closely for the presence of any rat cells, but we found that the mouse’s immune system had eliminated them,” said Nakauchi. “This is very promising for our hope to transplant human organs grown in animals because it suggests that any contaminating animal cells could be eliminated by the patient’s immune system after transplant.”

Importantly, the researchers also did not see any signs of tumor formation or other abnormalities caused by the pluripotent mouse stem cells that formed the islets. Tumor formation is often a concern when pluripotent stem cells are used in an animal due to the cells’ remarkable developmental plasticity. The researchers believe the lack of any signs of cancer is likely due to the fact that the mouse pluripotent stem cells were guided to generate a pancreas within the developing rat embryo, rather than coaxed to develop into islet cells in the laboratory. The researchers are working on similar animal-to-animal experiments to generate kidneys, livers and lungs.

Although the findings provide proof-of-principle for future work, much research remains to be done. Ethical considerations are also important when human stem cells are transplanted into animal embryos, the researchers acknowledge.

The research was funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, a KAKENHI grant, the Japan Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus Network and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Stanford’s Department of Genetics also supported the work.

CAN STEM CELLS CURE DOWN SYNDROME?

In HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm

There’s a lot going on in this article.  14 patients with Down Syndrome were treated with stem cells.  Down Syndrome is a common chromosomal disorder caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (HSA21q). I’m not going to introduce a critical analysis of this.  This article does that with great skepticism.  Let’s take a different tact.  Let’s approach this with the idea that it could happen but we don’t yet know how.  How about I raise some questions of my own with the intention to not tear down but rather to perhaps, inspire someone else to discover a new path to some answers.  Let’s throw away conventional thought and limitations and try to grasp a kernel of truth from a bag of confusion.  I’m going to blue sky here…
Blue Sky: adjective – using the imagination to think of ideas that do not yet have practical uses or make money.

can-stem-cells-cure-down-syndrome

How can stem cells possibly modify a genetic disorder?   Maybe they can’t, but maybe they can.  Epigenetics tells us that our gene expressions are constantly changing and our concept of what can and can’t change in the human body is constantly evolving.  Are the stem cells modifying the chromosome?  Conventional science would indicate that this is impossible.  But maybe we are seeing the results from a change in phenotype without a change in genotype.  15 years ago, conventional science was positive that heart cells couldn’t regenerate either.  We still have an enormous amount to learn.  Perhaps our genetics are even less stable than we thought?

Non-scientist gene therapy? Gene therapy is a technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease.  Three techniques of gene therapy are:

  • Replacing a mutated gene that causes disease with a healthy copy of the gene.
  • Inactivating, or “knocking out,” a mutated gene that is functioning improperly.
  • Introducing a new gene into the body to help fight a disease.

Is it so far fetched to imagine that the stem cells can do already what scientists do?  We know stem cells can heal and regenerate.  Why not also perform gene therapy?  We’ve seen modified allogeneic stem cells recover fetuses (in the womb) from the genetic disorder of severe osteogenesis imperfecta before 2005.  1, 2  We know stem cells can regrow finger tips in kids under 8, become skin cells and then if not needed, reverting back to a nascent state and becoming nail cells and then reverting back, etc.  So maybe they can modify at the genetic level too, but how?

clint_eastwood_-_1960s

What’s mine is…yours?  (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly)  What needs to happen to modify genetics?  Not the science, but the logic.  The stem cells would need to recognize that the chromosomal disorder is atypical – an aberrant construct needing modification – and then change it towards a different paradigm.  Maybe they can do that because the cells used are from someone else (allogenic) – so perhaps the stem cells carry the blue prints and adhere to the donor’s physiology?  
The donor’s physiology then, becomes the road map, the standard which the stem cells are healing the patient towards.  The “normal standard,” so to speak.  It makes some sense as, often, in allogenic stem cell treatment scenarios (Embryonic and induced Pluripotent for example), the genetic anomalies of the donor influence the recipient.  So if the negative elements within the donor can influence the patient, why not the positive?  Why wouldn’t the relative genetic normalcies of the donor influence the physiology of the recipient?
 

An improvement by any other name would smell just as sweet?  ‘“He started babbling and crawling, and his facial features underwent a change.” The boy, who lives in Singapore, is now 3 years old. “He continues to develop age-appropriate skills,” says Titus.’  

If the indicators and symptoms of  Down Syndrome reduced or went away  and they ARE tied to the genetics, how did that happen? If the indicators and symptoms of  Down Syndrome reduced or went away and they are NOT tied to the genetics, maybe the connections between the cause and the result is not as rigid as we thought.  Can someone have the chromosomal variant of Down Syndrome but have no indicators and no symptoms?   Something very worthwhile to work towards.  Perhaps we have to expand our view of what it means to recover from an illness beyond just reversing the criteria we currently use to define the disease.  

What if  everything else in the body works better due to the stem cells?  The circulatory system, the GI, the neurological, the lymph and all of ancillary parts and pieces work better resulting in a greater capacity for learning, growth, development, etc.  We know the central nervous system does regenerate as well as the brain, though very slowly; so if you can improve the workings of every part of the body, even without addressing the additional chromosome issue of Down Syndrome, wouldn’t that potentially result in the smartest, strongest, healthiest person with Down Syndrome?  Isn’t that significant improvement?

If you were diagnosed with cancer but there was a simple treatment which would allow you to have no symptoms and you could live a full and complete life; curing cancer wouldn’t really matter to you, would it?  That goal would cease to be our priority.  Now we are shifting from disease mitigation to quantifiable improvements in the measurable criteria by which the Down Syndrome patient is defined.  Maybe negating the symptoms and the ramifications of a disease is equal in importance to curing it.  Maybe it is even easier to do and the patient won’t be able to tell the difference between the two.   The patient; healthier, better, with fewer or no symptoms.  Isn’t that what we are all working towards anyway?

IS that what we are all working towards?  Survey says…
The Purist says: “Scam!  You can’t fix genetic conditions.  You didn’t fix the Down Syndrome!”
The Parent says: “My child’s ability to xyz has improved!  They are at age level in school and on height and weight and on and on…”
The Prognosis says: “Patient presents with fewer or none of the indicators and symptoms commonly associated with Down Syndrome and what is exhibited is more mild in nature.”
The Pragmatist says:  “This advancement in therapies for Down Syndrome allows the patient to live a normal life, unburdened by the symptoms and long term ramifications of the disease.”
The Future says: “We have seen a lower incidence of the common conditions associated with this Down Syndrome – various congenital and progressive medical conditions such as mental retardation, congenital heart disease, gastrointestinal anomalies, skeletal anomalies, leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Adverse side affects?  The cells used were Human Embryonic stem cells.  Now, they are very powerful as they have the capacity to differentiate into the hundreds of cells in the human body…but they also have a history of rejection and cysts and tumors which can become cancerous.  This is an area of great concern and I am very curious as to how the doctors addressed these issues or felt they were insignificant.  This issue needs more research…

Taoist philosophy says: ‘“Water always seeks the easiest path, the common level of life. When it reaches a spot where there is a blockage, water finds the easiest path around the blockage. Or, if it can’t find a way around the blockage, it continues to assemble. The water gets deeper and deeper until finally the level increases and it flows over the blockage. It uses itself to go beyond whatever it needs to go beyond.” Eventually, water wears down even the hardest rock. Proof of this is seen in the Grand Canyon. The power of water may not be evident right away; over time, though, the massive mountain is worn away while the stream remains.’  Go around.  Go over.  Go through.  Each has it’s merits and disadvantages. Let’s pursue all as viable paths for the healing of the patient.

Most would argue that stem cells encompass the most significant change to disease treatment and medicine in all history.  Stem cells are a game changer.  THE game changer.

If stem cells are the game changer…

maybe it’s past time we changed HOW WE KEEP SCORE.

down-syndrome-chromosome

Clinic claims it has used stem cells to treat Down’s syndrome

A clinic in India says it has used stem cells to treat Down’s syndrome in up to 14 people, but the announcement has alarmed independent researchers

By Andy Coghlan

A CLINIC claims it has used stem cells to treat Down’s syndrome in up to 14 people. “As far as we know, it’s the first time that stem cells have been used to treat Down’s syndrome,” says Jyoti Titus, manager at Nutech Mediworld clinic in New Delhi, India.

The announcement has set alarm bells ringing. It’s not clear to independent stem cell or Down’s experts how stem cells – which can form many types of tissue – might treat Down’s, a genetic disorder caused by having an extra chromosome.

Down'sDown’s: an extra chromosome 21 – Department of Clinical Cytogenetics, Addenbrookes Hospital/Science Photo Library

“The use of these cells does not make biological sense and may place the babies at considerable risk of side effects,”says John Rasko of the International Society for Cellular Therapy.

Clinically proven stem cell therapies are only just starting to become available. The first off-the-shelf stem cell treatment to gain regulatory approval was launched in Japan last year, and prevents transplanted organs from attacking their recipients. A number of research teams are putting other experimental stem cell therapies through stringent clinical trials.

But hundreds of clinics worldwide already offer stem cell treatments unvetted by regulatory authorities. A patent held by the clinic’s medical director, Geeta Shroff, from 2007 suggests that the cells offered by Nutech Mediworld could be helpful for over 70 types of conditions, from Down’s syndrome to Alzheimer’s disease, and even vegetative states.

“The use of stem cells doesn’t make sense and may place the babies at considerable risk”

Most treatments for children with Down’s syndrome centre on support – including speech and behavioural therapies. But in a study published last year Shroff, reported that a baby with Down’s syndrome developed better understanding, improved limb muscle tone, and the ability to recognise his relatives after receiving stem cells (Journal of Medical Cases, doi.org/bx3v).

No controls

“There’s no comparison to similar individuals with Down’s syndrome, and no indication this therapy had any effect whatsoever, so the author has no basis at all for saying the injections were beneficial,” says Elizabeth Fisher at University College London.

But since no other treatment was given, it is evident that the child’s improvements were due to stem cell treatment, says Titus. “He started babbling and crawling, and his facial features underwent a change.” The boy, who lives in Singapore, is now 3 years old. “He continues to develop age-appropriate skills,” says Titus.

Shroff’s study says she injected the cells, developed from a donated embryo, into his blood, back muscles and under his skin, as well as giving them as a nasal spray. “Stem cells have an innate ability to repair and regenerate, and that is how the baby’s condition improved,” says Titus.

“There’s no obvious way in which this treatment would have worked,” says Victor Tybulewicz at the Francis Crick Institute in London. To have any effect, neural stem cells would need to be injected into the brain, he says.

“The author appears to have no idea of where [the cells] are going, or what they’re doing,” says Fisher. “It’s even worse now we know they’ve treated 14 patients, not just one.”

Titus says that the way the cells were developed means recipients don’t need immunosuppressants. But Tybulewicz disagrees. “I expect the most likely outcome of the injections would have been that they were recognised as foreign and eliminated by the immune system,” he says. More details of the biological impact of the stem cells will be revealed in a study that has been submitted for publication, says Titus.

Nutech Mediworld isn’t the only clinic offering stem cells. An analysis led by Rasko last year identified 417 unique websites advertising stem cell treatments directly to patients. Of these, 187 were linked to 215 clinics in the US. Thirty-five websites were linked to organisations in India.

Although India introduced national guidelines on clinical stem cell research and treatments a decade ago, these are not legally binding.

This article appeared in print under the headline “Clinic claims stem cells treat Down’s syndrome”

 

STEM CELLS FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS

In DISEASE INFO, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on January 31, 2017 at 10:56 am

“[Bob]  received an infusion of cells called allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC), adult stem cells collected from the bone marrow of healthy volunteers”

“CF’s main effect is on the lungs. They fill with a sticky mucus as a reaction – really an over-reaction – by the body’s immune system to bacteria. The lungs are the source for much of the illness and shortened lifespan seen in CF.”

cystic-fibrosis-the_fluorescent_microscopy_image_of_cftr_tagged_with_eyfp

CYSTIC FIBROSIS The_fluorescent_microscopy_image_of_CFTR_tagged_with_EYFP

First stem cell study could lead to development of therapy to reduce inflammation caused by CF

Published on January 31, 2017 at 3:24 AM · 

A 39-year-old man with cystic fibrosis (CF) made history by becoming the first person to receive human adult stem cells in a new research study that researchers hope will someday lead to the development of a therapy to reduce the inflammation and infection caused by CF.

The pioneering subject in the study is Bob Held from Alliance, Ohio, who on Jan. 26 received an infusion of cells called allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC), adult stem cells collected from the bone marrow of healthy volunteers. Mr. Held was diagnosed with CF when he was 16 months old.

Currently, there is no cure for CF, and life expectancy for patients who survive into adulthood is approximately 41 years of age.

“It was a very exciting day for us with the very first participant in the first stem cell trial for cystic fibrosis,” said James Chmiel, MD, the principal investigator of the study at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

The Phase 1 trial will assess the safety and tolerability of hMSCs in adult patients with CF.

“This is an early phase trial, and the most important thing is to ensure safety,” said Dr. Chmiel. “This study consists of a single infusion of stem cells. We will follow the study participants for a year to make sure it’s safe. Before applying any therapy on a broad basis, we want to make sure that it’s safe.”

While the goal of the study is safety, Dr. Chmiel hopes this is a first step towards the ultimate goal of developing a therapy to reduce lung inflammation and infection, resulting in longer and healthier lives for people with CF.

“While there’s been a tremendous increase in survival for people with CF from when I entered the field in the 1990s, that’s still not good enough,” said Dr. Chmiel, Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Center at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “While we’ve made great progress, we still have a long way to go.”
The stem cells that Mr. Held received were collected from the bone marrow of a healthy adult volunteer. UH is a national leader in the use of stem cell therapy with hMSCs. Researchers from UH, along with the CWRU School of Medicine, discovered hMSCs. The hMSCs possess many properties that are ideal for the treatment of inflammatory and degenerative diseases, and they possess natural abilities to detect changes in their environment, such as inflammation. The hope is that hMSCs can reduce the inflammation in the lungs caused by CF.

CF’s main effect is on the lungs. They fill with a sticky mucus as a reaction – really an over-reaction – by the body’s immune system to bacteria. The lungs are the source for much of the illness and shortened lifespan seen in CF.

“One of the issues in CF is that people with the disease get bacterial infections in their lungs, and these bacteria incite a vigorous and excessive inflammatory response,” explained Dr. Chmiel. “It’s actually the body’s inflammatory response that damages the lungs. The inflammatory response tries to eliminate the bacteria, but it’s not successful. Instead, the inflammatory system releases molecules that damage the individual’s own airways. The lung disease causes much of the illness and is responsible for the majority of the mortality of the disease.”

The stem cells are donated by healthy adult volunteers who go through a rigorous screening process. The stem cells are cultured in the UH stem cell facility. Volunteers with CF who are in the study receive an infusion through an IV.
“Once in the patient’s body, the stem cell tracks to the area where there’s a significant amount of inflammation, and they take up residence there. The stem cells then respond to the environment, and hopefully reverse some of the abnormalities,” said Dr. Chmiel. “We hope in future studies to demonstrate that the stem cells reduce the infection and inflammation and return the lungs to a more normal state.”

“This therapy aims to turn down the inflammatory response, not eliminate it because we still have to keep the bacteria in check. We want to reduce inflammation and the subsequent lung damage caused by inflammation without allowing the bacteria to proliferate,” said Dr. Chmiel.

A total of 15 clinically stable adults with CF will be enrolled in the study. Support for the study is from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The patient, Mr. Held, considers himself fortunate to be close to 40 with CF. When he was growing up, he said he’d miss 50 days of school each year because of the disease. Every day, he needs to breathe in aerosols for about two hours in the morning and 1-1/2 hours before bed to keep his lungs functioning. While he hasn’t been sick from the illness since his late teens, he does check himself into the hospital a couple of times a year for precautionary measures and to prevent himself from “getting into a valley” with CF.

His late wife, Michelle, died of CF seven years ago. They had met when they were kids, but didn’t get married until 2012. She died from the disease suddenly 28 days after they married.

“My only regret is that I didn’t ask her out sooner,” said Mr. Held.
He is participating in the study to carry on Michelle’s legacy, and “I am hoping the future generations of CF patients can get better treatments and that eventually a cure will be found for them,” he said.

WHY SMOKING CAUSES CANCER

In DISEASE INFO, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on January 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Lung stem cells cultured in the laboratory. The green, blue and purple colors emerging from behind the orbs are a protein expressed by lung basal stem cells. Photo: Clare Weeden, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

For four years straight medical researcher Clare Weeden would go on alert whenever lung surgery was underway anywhere across Melbourne. No matter the time, she would have to be ready in her lab to receive samples of fresh tissue as part of a project to isolate and research the stem cells that repair our lungs as they constantly breathe in contaminants from air pollution to cigarette smoke.

She didn’t know it at the time, but she was hot on the trail of the lung’s basal stem cells that now appear to be the likely culprits that trigger a major lung cancer closely tied to smoking – squamous cell carcinoma. It is the second most common form of lung cancer.

Basal stems cells are very quick at repairing DNA damage caused by inhaled chemicals such as those from cigarette smoke, but they are prone to making mistakes. It means that the more repair work they have to do, the greater the chance of a cancer-causing mutation.

“What we have found is a genetic fingerprint in squamous cell carcinoma that has been left from basal stem cells in the lung whose repair work has gone awry and led to the cancer,” says Weeden, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne.

“It isn’t definitive but the evidence is that lung basal stem cells are the likely cells of origin.”

The unmasking of basal stem cells, published in the Public Library of Science: Biology, is the culmination of years of painstaking laboratory work and data-crunching that has now provided a crucial new target for developing drugs that may be able to turn off the progress of the cancer.

Weeden was sometimes up until to 3am at the Institute isolating and processing cells from the freshly operated-on lung tissue, especially when there was a flurry of samples in one day. It is a complex process that took up to six hours for each of the eventual 140 samples.

The Clue

But one day she came across a sample that she could barely get to grow at all.

Intrigued, she contacted the Victorian Cancer Biobank for basic information on the donor. It was likely that the donor was a smoker or ex-smoker since most people having lung surgery have a history of smoking. But this patient had never smoked. Sensing a possible link she went back to the Biobank to get information on all the previous tissue donors, and over that weekend plotted out a chart.

The correlation was stark. Samples from those that had never smoked had low basal cell growth, and the more heavily a patient had smoked, the higher the growth rate.

“It completely grabbed my curiosity,” she says. “I remember on Monday morning going straight into my supervisor’s office (Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat) and putting the chart down in front of her. We both realized we were onto something significant. The question was what?”

By using the same process that Weeden had developed to accurately isolate lung stem cells, she and Asselin-Libat set to examine how the basal stem cells worked.

They discovered that basal stem cells were very efficient at repairing damaged DNA but that the process the cells use, called non-homologous repair, is prone to making errors that can lead to cancer-causing mutations. In non-homologous repair the break in a damaged DNA chain is simply closed over rather than copied. They also found evidence of the accumulation of mutations in the basal stem cells of the smokers.

“While we need more experimentation, this gave us a model of what may be happening,” says Weeden. “Our lungs are constantly being exposed to what we inhale. When we breathe in something like cigarette smoke that causes lung damage, these basal cells receive a signal to grow and repair the damage.

But they have to first repair their own DNA damage and the process they use is very quick. The advantage is that it helps the cells to survive, but the disadvantage is that they are prone to making errors that can lead to cancer.”

To test that model they turned to Institute bioinfomaticians Professor Gordon Smyth and Yunshun (Andy) Chen who used statistics and computer science to extract a genetic “signature” for lung basal stem cells. They then compared that signature with the genetics of various lung cancers.

clear evidence

They discovered that this same signature was highly correlated with lung squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of lung cancer and the most closely linked to smoking – some 96 per cent of people with lung squamous cell carcinoma are either smokers or ex-smokers. It was clear evidence that basal stem cells are the likely culprits in how the cancer is triggered.

By identifying a cell of origin Weeden says we now have a drug target to aim at that has the potential to stop the progress of the cancer. Previous Institute research in 2009 lead by Professor Jane Visvader and Professor Geoff Lindeman had similarly identified a likely cell of origin for inherited breast cancer, and last year that same team identified an existing drug, denosumab, that in laboratory models could switch off the problematic cell growth and curtail the cancer. Clinical trials are now underway.

“In the breast cancer research they similarly used correlations to identify a cell of origin like we have and now further work has solidified that,” says Weeden.

Does this mean that at some point in the future smokers could breathe easier by taking a drug that could stop the cancer being triggered? No. Weeden points out that if someone took such a drug and continued to smoke the damage could be even worse than the cancer.

“Basal stem cells have a job to do in the lung, they repair any damage. If a person was treated with a drug that turned off basal cells and continued to smoke, I would imagine that other lung problems may develop due to the inability of the stem cell to repair the lung airways from cigarette smoke-induced damage,” says Weeden. She points out that smoking also causes other lung cancers that don’t arise from basal stem cells.

She says the biggest beneficiaries of any such drug could be ex-smokers. “This is particularly relevant as lung squamous cell carcinoma can occur in ex-smokers who have quit perhaps 20 or 30 years ago.

“But the best way to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to simply quit smoking because no matter how long you’ve smoked for, the risk of lung cancer is reduced when you quit.”

NON SMOKERS GET LUNG CANCER

In DISEASE INFO, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on January 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm

‘Lung cancer is almost always fatal because it is asymptomatic. “Symptoms of lung cancer (chronic cough, shortness of breath, phlegm in lungs) are very similar to common respiratory illnesses”’

Can people get lung cancer if they don’t smoke?

smoke-industrial-sky

Lung cancer is responsible for almost one-quarter of all cancer deaths in the nation.

Although this type is especially common in people who smoke cigarettes, it is possible for the disease to occur in non-smokers and yes, sometimes even in those who aren’t often breathing secondhand smoke.

A Texas A&M College of Medicine Radiation Oncologist breaks down the science behind lung cancer and the environmental hazards that could result in a diagnosis.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates 224,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2016.

“This means up to 13 percent of all projected cancers this year could be lung cancer,” said Niloy J. Deb, MD, Assistant Professor of radiology with the Texas A&M College of Medicine and Chairman.

“The leading cause of diagnosis is due to smoking cigarettes, but there are other instances where the cancer can occur.”

Secondhand smoke—like breathing car exhaust into your lungs

Do you live with friends or family who smoke cigarettes? If so, you’re at a much higher risk for developing lung cancer.

“Exposure to secondhand smoke is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers,” Deb said. “Non-smokers who are constantly exposed to secondhand smoke increase their likelihood of getting lung cancer by 20 percent.”

buttout

So, how exactly does secondhand smoke up your chances for lung cancer? Deb said even smoke indirectly inhaled from a cigarette is damaging to the lungs.

“Chronic smoking impairs the tiny alveoli (small sacs that move oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and bloodstream) in our lungs, and these alveoli start ‘trapping’ air,” he said.

“Cigarette smoke, with all the dissolved carcinogens, will then ‘sit’ in the alveoli, which causes the genetic mutations (changes) that cause cancerous transformation.”

Important to know: The most harmful part of cigarette smoke comes from the burning paper. This is because compounds are added to the wrapping to allow the tobacco and paper to burn at the same rate.

“To do this, companies add tar and other petroleum derivatives to the paper around cigarettes,” Deb said. “So, when you inhale smoke from a cigarette, it’s essentially like breathing car exhaust directly into your lungs.”

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Carcinogens activate the ‘switch’ for cancer cell mutation

Cancer happens when a cell’s DNA is changed, and there are certain known substances and exposures that can lead to cancer; these are called carcinogens.

According to the ACS, carcinogens don’t always cause cancer in every case, but they may predispose to cancer in other ways.

“Some environmental carcinogens like asbestos, silica, benzene, ethylene oxide, and exposure to nickel compounds and by-products of petroleum distillation from vehicle exhaust and fossil fuels, can lead to lung cancer,” Deb said.

“These substances flip the genetic switches in our body by turning on a cancer activator or turning off a cancer suppressor.”

For example: For a cancer cell to form in our lungs, there must be an on/off switch flipped in the genetic code of the lung cells. “When a carcinogen flicks the ‘on’ switch, it turns on a gene that converts a normal cell into a cancer cell,” Deb said.

“When a carcinogen hits the ‘off’ switch, it’s turning off a gene that has been preventing a cancerous process or cancer cell formation. These switches can be flipped because of exposure to environmental carcinogens.”

Why lung cancer is a killer

Lung cancer is almost always fatal because it is asymptomatic. “Symptoms of lung cancer (chronic cough, shortness of breath, phlegm in lungs) are very similar to common respiratory illnesses,” Deb said.

“Most patients (both smokers and non-smokers) do not know their symptoms may be caused by cancer instead of a relatively benign illness.”

Most people who are diagnosed with lung cancer live with symptoms for years before seeking any medical opinion, and by then, it’s too late.

“This is why most lung cancers are diagnosed at Stage 3 or Stage 4 and the reason approximately 158,000 people die from lung cancer each year,” Deb said.

“The death rate increases when you can’t catch the cancer at an earlier stage, when there are more treatment options available.”

WHAT WILL TOM PRICE MEAN TO PATIENTS?

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 24, 2017 at 11:45 am

tom_price_official_transition_portrait

“Who is Tom Price, Trump’s pick for HHS?

Washington (CNN) While some Republicans have signaled major changes to Obamacare are a long time in the making, President-elect Donald Trump has sent a strong signal that the law’s days are numbered, no matter what.

That signal is Rep. Tom Price, Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Georgia Republican and medical doctor is among the law’s most studied and determined opponents.” via

On ABORTION

  • Voted YES on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion. (May 2011)
  • Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
  • Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
  • Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Bar funding for abortion under federal Obamacare plans. (Jul 2010)
  • Prohibit federal funding for abortion. (May 2011)
  • Prohibit federal funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. (Jan 2011)
  • No family planning assistance that includes abortion. (Jan 2013)
  • Grant the pre-born equal protection under 14th Amendment. (Jan 2007)

On DRUGS

  • Voted NO on more funding for Mexico to fight drugs. (Jun 2008)
  • Rated -10 by NORML, indicating a “hard-on-drugs” stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Rated 0% by NORML, indicating an anti-legalization stance. (Jan 2014)

On ENVIRONMENT

  • Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted NO on protecting free-roaming horses and burros. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted NO on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences. (Sep 2008)
  • Voted NO on $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted NO on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. (May 2006)
  • Voted YES on deauthorizing “critical habitat” for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
  • Stop considering manure as pollutant or hazardous. (Sep 2011)
  • Rated 13% by HSLF, indicating an anti-animal welfare voting record. (Jan 2012)
  • Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting. (Jan 2007)

On HEALTH CARE

  • Republicans have offered ideas and solutions on healthcare. (Jan 2010)
  • Address lawsuit abuse; it doesn’t raise taxes by a penny. (Jan 2010)
  • More Medical Savings Accounts; less medical malpractice. (Nov 2004)
  • Voted YES on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts. (Apr 2011)
  • Voted YES on repealing the “Prevention and Public Health” slush fund. (Apr 2011)
  • Voted NO on regulating tobacco as a drug. (Apr 2009)
  • Voted NO on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program. (Jan 2009)
  • Voted YES on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare. (Jul 2008)
  • Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted NO on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids. (Jan 2008)
  • Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Oct 2007)
  • Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay. (Feb 2006)
  • Repeal any federal health care takeover. (Jul 2010)
  • Deauthorize funding for Obamacare. (Jul 2010)
  • Repeal the Job-Killing Health Care Law. (Jan 2011)

Via 

 

On HEALTH ISSUES
Benjamin says that Price’s record in public-health policy is particularly worrying. In 2008, for instance, Price voted against allowing the FDA to regulate tobacco as a drug.

Price has also pushed to repeal the Public Health and Prevention Fund (PHPF), a roughly $1 billion to $2 billion fund provided yearly to the CDC to support public-health programmes. Owing to past budget cuts, the agency has used this money to bolster spending on existing programmes, such as research on lead toxicity. Price has criticized the PHPF as a “slush fund”, but Benjamin says that it has been essential for the agency. “Should he be confirmed, we’d be working very hard to try and change his mind to convince him that prevention is an important issue he should champion,” he says.

And Price has also consistently opposed embryonic stem cell research, saying in 2009 that Obama’s executive order to permit such research would “force taxpayers to subsidize research that will destroy human embryos”.

He has also supported numerous efforts to defund the reproductive non-profit healthcare group Planned Parenthood” Via

 

“On STEM CELL RESEARCH

Price has been outspoken against research that involves embryonic stem cells.
In 2005, Price spoke with Georgia’s Athens Banner-Herald newspaper about the “ethical dilemma” of stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to treat myriad medical conditions, are controversial because they derive from early embryos.
The cells are of interest for research because they have the potential to develop into many different cell types, and so scientists believe they can be used to generate cells and tissues that could be used for cell-based therapies.

See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

“There are people who believe any form of embryonic stem cell research necessitates the destruction of human life,” Price said. “I can’t overestimate the importance of that statement.” And for people who believe that, “stem cell scientists are threatening your fundamental principles,” he said.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s current guidelines on human stem cell research, embryonic stem cells are eligible for research with NIH funding if they were created using in vitro fertilization and are no longer needed or were donated by individuals seeking reproductive treatment.
Price has voted against expanding embryonic stem cell research. As HHS secretary he would oversee NIH grants to research on embryonic stem cells.” Via
On LGBT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, HUMAN RIGHTS, PERSONHOOD STATUS of EMBRYOS
Last year Price joined other Georgia Congressmen in signing a letter of support for fired Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, who was terminated after not obtaining permission to use his official capacity to promote a book he wrote that disparages LGBT people under the cloak of religion. The letter falsely described both Cochran’s actions and the reason for his termination.Price, as On The Issues details, voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. He voted to constitutionally define marriage as one-man-one-woman and to amend the Constitution to define traditional marriage. He’s earned a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign and a 17% rating from the NAACP.

Rep. Price, 62, opposes a woman’s right to choose, he opposes stem cell research, and supports banning all federal funding of Planned Parenthood. He also supports granting embryos personhood status and thus equal protection under 14th Amendment.” Via 

 

What will Tom Price as head of the Department of Health and Human Services mean to you?  Please comment below.

LEAKY GUT + BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER =AUTISM?

In DISEASE INFO, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on January 24, 2017 at 10:55 am

leaking

Does leaking cause autism and schizophrenia?

Remember those hysterical soccer Moms who said Autism has to do with the gut, the immune system and the brain.  Guess what, they were pretty spot on…it looks like in ASD and schizophrenia patients, there is a significant incidence of leaking in both the intestines and the blood-brain barrier

  1. “Blood-brain-barrier integrity and function and with inflammation was detected in ASD tissue samples, supporting the hypothesis that an impaired blood-brain barrier associated with neuroinflammation contributes to ASD”
  2. Gut: “75 percent of the individuals affected by ASD had reduced expression of barrier-forming cellular components, compared with controls, and 66 percent showed a higher expression of molecules that increase intestinal permeability”

autism-awareness

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Study finds alterations in both blood-brain barrier and intestinal permeability in individuals with autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has the dubious distinction of being the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With 1 in every 68 children born in this country diagnosed with ASD, parents are looking everywhere for answers about best treatments. Along with selective medication to treat certain symptoms, traditional treatments include intensive behavioral approaches. But with no “one-size-fits-all” treatment approach, parents often turn to diverse complementary and alternative therapies.

Just as parents are looking for answers, scientists are trying to tease out the causes of this multifactorial and complex condition. “Although we are fairly certain that there is a genetic component, there are many pathways for an individual to arrive at autism’s final destination,” says Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and co-senior author of a study published in the journal Molecular Autism. “What might dispose one person to develop ASD – either pre- or post-natally – might have no such effect on another person,” he adds.

Looking at the interconnectivity of the gut-brain axis – the biochemical signaling between the gastrointestinal and central nervous systems – researchers led by Maria Rosaria Fiorentino, PhD, of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), have opened up a new avenue of research into the pathophysiology of ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. “As far as we know, this is the first study to look at the molecular signature of blood-brain barrier dysfunction in ASD and schizophrenia in samples from human patients,” says Fiorentino. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and others, Fiorentino’s group found an altered blood-brain barrier in tissue samples from people with ASD when compared with healthy controls.

The group analyzed postmortem cerebral cortex and cerebellum tissues from 33 individuals – 8 with ASD, 10 with schizophrenia and 15 healthy controls. Altered expression of genes associated with blood-brain-barrier integrity and function and with inflammation was detected in ASD tissue samples, supporting the hypothesis that an impaired blood-brain barrier associated with neuroinflammation contributes to ASD.

In keeping with the hypothesis that the interplay within the gut-brain axis is a crucial component in the development of neurodevelopmental disorders, the group also analyzed intestinal epithelial tissue from 12 individuals with ASD and 9 without such disorders. That analysis revealed that 75 percent of the individuals affected by ASD had reduced expression of barrier-forming cellular components, compared with controls, and 66 percent showed a higher expression of molecules that increase intestinal permeability.

The study was driven in part by the high number of gastrointestinal problems that occur in people with ASD. Although considered controversial by some health care practitioners, a gluten- and casein-free diet has been shown to produce some improvement in behavioral and gastrointestinal symptoms in a subgroup of children with ASD. “This is the first time anyone has shown that an altered blood-brain barrier and impaired intestinal barrier might both play a role in neuroinflammation in people with ASD,” says Fiorentino.

Fasano adds, “As well as information on the blood-brain barrier, we were looking for more information on how increased intestinal permeability, otherwise known as a ‘leaky gut,’ might affect the development of ASD in the context of a dysfunctional gut-brain axis.”

Fiorentino’s next project involves looking more mechanistically at how microbiota – the collection of microorganisms in the gut – are linked with intestinal permeability and behavior. “There is definitely something going on between the gut and the brain with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, and of course the microbiome has a big role to play,” she says. “It has already been shown that ASD kids have an altered composition of gut microbial communities. If we can figure out what is required or missing, then maybe we can come up with a treatment that might be able to improve some of the behavioral issues and/or the gastrointestinal symptoms.”

Fasano is a professor of Pediatrics, and Fiorentino is an assistant professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Additional co-authors of the Molecular Autism paper are Anna Sapone, PhD, Stefania Senger, PhD, and Stephanie Camhi, MGHfC Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center; Sarah Kadzielski, MD, and Timothy Buie, MGHfC Gastoenterology and Lurie Center for Autism; Deanna L. Kelly, PharmD, BCPP, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Nicola Cascella, MD, Sheppard Pratt Health System, Baltimore.

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with an annual research budget of more than $800 million and major research centers in HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, photomedicine and transplantation biology. The MGH topped the 2015 Nature Index list of health care organizations publishing in leading scientific journals and earned the prestigious 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In August 2016 the MGH was once again named to the Honor Roll in the U.S. News & World Report list of “America’s Best Hospitals.”

HOSPITALS MAY BE A THING OF THE PAST

In HEALTH AND WELLNESS, HOPE AND INSPIRATION, Uncategorized on January 24, 2017 at 10:54 am
redcrossnursen

It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm. – Florence Nightingale

By 2030, Hospitals May Be a Thing of the Past

  • Predictions from the co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Future Council, Melanie Walker, say we’ll soon enter a post-hospital world due to advances in personalized medicine, health monitoring, and nanotechnology.
  • New and evolving technologies in medical science convince Walker we’ll live in a society not dependent on hospitals by 2030.

BRAVE NEW WORLD

As the world of medicine is increasingly changed by biology, technology, communications, genetics, and robotics, predicting the outlook of the next few decades of medicine becomes harder. But that is exactly what Melanie Walker of the World Economic Forum does, and she predicts a bright new future for healthcare.

Walker is the co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Future Council on neurotechnology and brain science and has been a doctor for the past 20 years.

“Nearly 20 years ago, when I graduated from medical school, the world of healthcare was dominated by breakthroughs in the field of biology,” Walker said in the article. “But, that is changing quickly because biology is being eaten by robotics and genetics as we evolve deeper into the networked age.”

The lynchpin of Walker’s predictions is the increasing adoption of new healthcare technologies, not just in hospitals but in homes. In fact, she says the rise of personalized medicine means we’re moving from hospitals to “home-spitals.”

We can already see these trends playing out. Many of the biggest diseases are largely vascular, and better understanding is making them more predictable and preventable. Accidents are likely to fall with the advent of automation and driverless tech and regenerative medicine is already stretching the lifespans in the most advanced countries.

Improvements in health monitoring will also make doctor’s visits rarer since they’ll acquire health data from your smartphone. And scanning technology will one day create devices that combine spectroscopy, magnetic resonance, and radiation in an all-in-one scanner.

BETTER OPERATIONS

The trend also points to less intrusive and more automated surgeries and operations. Microbots will perform surgeries from inside your body and ingestible robotics will diagnose or operate on you before they dissolve.

There’ll also be an end to organ waiting lists. Advancements in 3D printing have made great leaps in printing artificial organs, bones, and even tissue.

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One day, instead of getting prescriptions from your doctor, brain implants may read your symptoms and beam them directly to the smartphone. It will then print out a custom set of drugs to address the root of your problems.

Advancements in genomics will also ensure you know which diseases you’re most likely to get so you’re prepared or even able to edit them out of your genome.

This isn’t a prediction designed to be 100 percent as new advancements and discoveries are made every day. Rather, the predictions help set us on a path to advance the regulatory structure to accommodate future advances and get funding towards the right fields to achieve this vision.

20 MINUTES EXERCISE = INFLAMMATION REDUX

In DISEASE INFO, HEALTH AND WELLNESS on January 23, 2017 at 11:17 am

Does exercise increase or reduce inflammation?  One look at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s  incredibly pumped physique and you might think exercise increases inflammation…but this is a different KIND of inflammation.
Scientists have found that just
one session of moderate exercise can stimulate the immune system, producing an anti-inflammatory cellular response.  “The findings have encouraging implications for chronic diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia and for more pervasive conditions, such as obesity.”
schwarzenegger

Exercise … It does a body good: 20 minutes can act as anti-inflammatory

One moderate exercise session has a cellular response that may help suppress inflammation in the body

Date:January 12, 2017 – Source: University of California – San Diego
Summary:
It’s well known that regular physical activity has health benefits, including weight control, strengthening the heart, bones and muscles and reducing the risk of certain diseases. Recently, researchers have found how just one session of moderate exercise can also act as an anti-inflammatory. The findings have encouraging implications for chronic diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia and for more pervasive conditions, such as obesity.

It’s well known that regular physical activity has health benefits, including weight control, strengthening the heart, bones and muscles and reducing the risk of certain diseases. Recently, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found how just one session of moderate exercise can also act as an anti-inflammatory. The findings have encouraging implications for chronic diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia and for more pervasive conditions, such as obesity.

The study, recently published online in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, found one 20-minute session of moderate exercise can stimulate the immune system, producing an anti-inflammatory cellular response.

“Each time we exercise, we are truly doing something good for our body on many levels, including at the immune cell level,” said senior author Suzi Hong, PhD, in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “The anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise have been known to researchers, but finding out how that process happens is the key to safely maximizing those benefits.”

The brain and sympathetic nervous system — a pathway that serves to accelerate heart rate and raise blood pressure, among other things — are activated during exercise to enable the body to carry out work. Hormones, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, are released into the blood stream and trigger adrenergic receptors, which immune cells possess.

This activation process during exercise produces immunological responses, which include the production of many cytokines, or proteins, one of which is TNF — a key regulator of local and systemic inflammation that also helps boost immune responses.

exercise

“Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a five percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF,” said Hong. “Knowing what sets regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins in motion may contribute to developing new therapies for the overwhelming number of individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions, including nearly 25 million Americans who suffer from autoimmune diseases.”

The 47 study participants walked on a treadmill at an intensity level that was adjusted based on their fitness level. Blood was collected before and immediately after the 20 minute exercise challenge.

“Our study shows a workout session doesn’t actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half-an-hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient,” said Hong. “Feeling like a workout needs to be at a peak exertion level for a long duration can intimidate those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases and could greatly benefit from physical activity.”

Inflammation is a vital part of the body’s immune response. It is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury; defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria; and repair damaged tissue. However, chronic inflammation can lead to serious health issues associated with diabetes, celiac disease, obesity and other conditions.

“Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases should always consult with their physician regarding the appropriate treatment plan, but knowing that exercise can act as an anti-inflammatory is an exciting step forward in possibilities,” said Hong.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of California – San Diego. Original written by MIchelle Brubaker. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stoyan Dimitrov, Elaine Hulteng, Suzi Hong. Inflammation and exercise: Inhibition of monocytic intracellular TNF production by acute exercise via β2-adrenergic activation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.12.017
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