DAVID GRANOVSKY

Posts Tagged ‘HEALTH’

UNALIENABLE RIGHTS OF LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

In ALL ARTICLES, HOPE AND INSPIRATION, OFF THE BEATEN PATH on July 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm

TODAY WE DECLARED WAR ON A TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT WHICH IMPEDED OUR UNALIENABLE RIGHTS OF LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

On this day, July 4th of the year 2014, let us remember why we are celebrating and what we fought for.

US-original-Declaration-1776

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

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IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

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Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem cells « Health Research Report

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 24, 2014 at 8:05 am

November 8, 2012

Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem cells 1

https://i0.wp.com/www.nutraingredients-usa.com/var/plain_site/storage/images/publications/food-beverage-nutrition/nutraingredients-usa.com/research/vitamin-c-rda-should-be-doubled-says-linus-pauling-institute-researcher/6914603-1-eng-GB/Vitamin-C-RDA-should-be-doubled-says-Linus-Pauling-Institute-researcher_strict_xxl.jpg

Famous for its antioxidant properties and role in tissue repair, vitamin C is touted as beneficial for illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer and perhaps even for slowing the aging process. Now, a study published online on December 24th by Cell Press in the journal Cell Stem Cell uncovers an unexpected new role for this natural compound: facilitating the generation of embryonic-like stem cells from adult cells.

Over the past few years, we have learned that adult cells can be reprogrammed into cells with characteristics similar to embryonic stem cells by turning on a select set of genes. Although the reprogrammed cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), have tremendous potential for regenerative medicine, the conversion is extremely inefficient.

“The low efficiency of the reprogramming process has hampered progress with this technology and is indicative of how little we understand it. Further, this process is most challenging in human cells, raising a significant barrier for producing iPSCs and serious concerns about the quality of the cells that are generated,” explains senior study author Dr. Duanqing Pei from the South China Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Pei and colleagues measured the production of reactive oxygen species or ROS during reprogramming and discovered a potential link between high ROS and low reprogramming efficiency. They became particularly interested in antioxidants, hypothesizing that they might suppress ROS and cell senescence, which seems to be a major roadblock for the generation of iPSCs.

The researchers found that adding vitamin C, an essential nutrient that is abundant in citrus fruits, enhanced iPSC generation from both mouse and human cells. Vitamin C accelerated gene expression changes and promoted a more efficient transition to the fully reprogrammed state. Somewhat to their surprise, they found that other antioxidants do not have the same effect, but vitamin C does seem to act at least in part through slowing cell senescence.

“Our results highlight a simple way to improve iPSC generation and provide additional insight into the mechanistic basis of reprogramming,” concludes Dr. Pei. “It is also of interest that a vitamin with long-suspected anti-aging effects has such a potent influence on reprogramming, which can be considered a reversal of the aging process at the cellular level. It is likely that our work may stimulate further research in this area as well.”

via Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem cells « Health Research Report.

AUTISM SPECTRUM, TREATMENTS AND CURES(?)

In ALL ARTICLES, OFF THE BEATEN PATH on April 30, 2013 at 10:13 am

autism-not-a-disease

What is the Autism Spectrum? What does it mean to Treat? Does treat mean Cure?

Let’s be clear, as clear as we can. Nothing applies to all but we speak of an autistic spectrum, a gross lumping together of many different variations.

“A spectrum (plural spectra or spectrums[1]) is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary infinitely within a continuum…the autism spectrum. In these uses, values within a spectrum may not be associated with precisely quantifiable numbers or definitions. Such uses imply a broad range of conditions or behaviors grouped together and studied under a single title for ease of discussion.”

We use spectrum because it’s easier to do so and because we don’t have 100 different, perfectly defined types of Autism in the spectrum. We don’t have: “Jimmy Jones presents with ADS#72” and even if we did, it would probably look more like, “Jimmy Jones presents with ADS72 with non-specific characteristics of ADS34 and a dash of ADS9.” We are limited in that we have a spectrum, an umbrella of sorts with perhaps more dissimilarities than similarities between those on it but it’s the umbrella we have so let’s use it because it allows us to move forward on the discourse.

As for the term treat   and what I “mean” by it, now we are getting into strictly defined   terms.  Treat means:
1. To give medical aid to someone.
2. To give medical aid to counteract a disease or   condition.

Treat does not mean cure. .  Likewise, recovery does not mean remission. Asymptomatic does not mean therapeutic benefit.  A treatment, when applied to different people with the same condition or different people on a spectrum, may result in dissimilar responses or results. Some may recover, some may become asymptomatic, some may derive significant therapeutic benefit, some may derive lesser benefits and some may have no significant response to a treatment and some may have limited quantifiable change yet huge quality of life improvement.  I wish there were guarantees on treatments but there are not.

In addition, there are many different kinds of treatments stemming from different schools of thought on cause, affect, symptom alleviation, etc.  There is HBOC, MSC, Chelation Therapy, Nutritional Intervention, Gut Bacteria Proliferation, etc. and many studies showing their safety and efficacy and many swear by them.  Some of these treatments or therapies or interventions have worked for some on the spectrum and because it’s a spectrum, may not work on others. But we educate ourselves to what’s available and the new studies and advancements.

So, here are a few articles. Some will be relevant to your inquiries, some will not. I hope they are helpful and enlightening.  And this is not the sum total of the information out there, just a broad brush stroke collection.   I’ll keep looking and I’ll try to gather some more over the next few days to create a more comprehensive… spectrum…of data and information:  AUTISM AND STEM CELL TREATMENTS

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I’ll leave you with this one last thought.  I used the image at the top for a reason.  It is something I’ve been wrestling with quite a lot lately.  Is Autism an identity or a disability?  Should we search for a cure or try to understand it.  I wrote an article on the subject early this month – AUTISM: IDENTITY OR DISABILITY  

And a chicken and the egg scenario just occurred to me.  Simply put:

Stem cells are the body’s natural healing system.  If you implant stem cells into the body, it will begin to repair itself.  It is the job of the stem cell to assist your body in functioning as well as it possibly can.  Dead tissue can begin to regenerate, new tissue can begin to develop, genetic anomalies can begin to correct, etc.  The stem cells and the body “know” what needs to be done or even, what needs to be fixed.  We can force them to do ‘x’ but eventually they will go fix ‘y.’

So if stem cells ‘fix’ something, that means (at the very least) that the stem cells and your body believed it needed ‘fixing.’  So in the simplest of terms and the broadest of definitions, if stem cells fix Autism, was it not because it needed to be fixed?  I don’t know.  I’m asking.  Maybe you have a different view.  If you do, I’d love to hear it.

p.s. A “friend” noted that cure is perhaps not the best term to use and I agree.  We do need a new set of words. Both for that reason and because we need to start seeing people as people and not as patients and definitely not as diseases. 

Further, when I eat well it is not to cure, when I go to the gym it is not to cure, when I meditate or do yoga it is not to cure. All of these things are to maximize my life, my health, my soundness of body and mind, my time on this earth, not to cure. Part of the issue is that Western medicine treats illnesses not people…wait until someone is sick and then try to fix what’s wrong with them with zero ‘cures’ since Polio 1954.   A pretty backward way of thinking.  Eastern medicine prevents disease as a by product of the efforts taken to maximize one’s health, vitality and life. We could learn a lot from this attitude.

DOES GOD WANT ME TO HEAL?

In OFF THE BEATEN PATH, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on April 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm

To Heal jesus

ARE ADULT STEM CELLS, GOD’S HEALING POWER?

VERBOSE AND RANDOM MUSINGS ON GOD, RELIGION, STEM CELLS, HEALTH & THE INEVITABLE

(A 1/4 baked secular and slightly irreverent but meaning no disrespect hypothesis of what God wants us to do when we get sick)

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A religious friend questions her activity in a group on Longevity:
“I really don’t know why I’m in this. Aging is a natural thing. We are all meant to die when god chooses.. anything we do or say will never change that. Life goes how it wants to, and no research is going to change that.”

I responded:

You bring up an interesting question.  I respect your opinion and share my own. For the sake of this exploration, let’s assume God exists and we all agree on how to define him…

You wrote, “We die when God chooses.”

If God brings us into life and chooses our death then I would guess you are presuming that God is omniscient and omnipotent.  If that’s the case, then your entire life too is pre-destined and you have no choice in any of your decisions.  This is fatalism.  In fact, this is absolute fatalism when you give it all up and allow God to take responsibility for everything that happens to you.  This takes all responsibility out of our hands.

The next are controversial hot buttons no doubt but we can only assess the value in a philosophy or “ism” if we push ourselves and them to the extreme.  So, with an omniscient and omnipotent God and a fatalist interpretation, everything happens as it was fated.  The woman gets an abortion only as she was fated to do.  The serial murderer kills again only as he was fated to do.  The Uncle rapes the niece as it was fated.  And we can all just sit back and take no responsibility for anything that happens to us or around us.  That can’t be right.

Perhaps you feel you can interpret God’s intentions and make decisions on behalf of his intentions for yourself.  On the one hand you have no say, on the other you can not only see the pattern in God’s mysterious works but also interpret them and affect change in your life based on your interpretations of them.  So you feel you can analyze and understand the intentions of an omniscient and omnipotent being?  Do you know how limited our vision is, figuratively and literally?  DO you know that we see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.  In fact, we see only about 0.00018% of it in our limited visible spectrum.  The rest of our senses are equally pathetic. SO we are “aware” of an infinitesimal amount of what is really going on. We are completely unprepared and incapable.  For sure, God works in mysterious ways because we only see a trillionth of a fraction of  what he does in the universe.  Einstein said: “trying to understand the universe is like trying to understand an entire deck of cards when you can only see one.”  He understood the folly of that hubris-tic exercise and he was pretty smart by any standards. The narcissism inherent in this is mind boggling. So that can’t be right.

Should we accept our fates or should we try to change them?  Fatalism is a philosophical construct that fails when applied to practical living.  Will you lie down in traffic, secure in your knowledge that if God intended you get run over by a bus, you will get run over by a bus?  Conversely, if God’s intent is for you to live, no number of buses running over you will cause your demise?  No?  Then you are already choosing to abandon fatalism and partaking in actions which hedge your bets against God’s intended destiny for you or fate.  So that can’t be right.

Are you so special that God spends his time on deciding your fate?  Is it the big stuff, like life or death with a big empty space in the middle or does he decide every single event, like if you get a dust mote in your eye or an uncomfortable wedgie from sitting on the bus too long?  Has God put that pimple on your nose before Church?  Don’t use make up, your are covering God’s intent.  So that can’t be right.

“Life goes how it wants to.”

Do you mean God created your life which proceeds according to his plan?  You are giving up all free choice and we are back to the fatalism argument.  Did God intend for a child to be born with a disease or contract a disease and if so, should we allow that to proceed without intervening.  Should a simple infection from a splinter be allowed to spread, become gangrenous and cause death.  The next time you trip, should you keep your hands at your sides and take that concrete curb full in the teeth?  No.  You can’t.  Your survival instincts kick in, as God intended, one might surmise.  We intervene at every level of every day.  God brought you to this group with it’s interests in Longevity.  Was that not his intention?  Does he intend for you to survive only instinctively or also with forethought and planning and the utilization of that grey matter in your head? I’m thinking the latter.

You remind me of a story:

A man lived by the river. He heard a radio report that the river was going to rush up and flood the town. And that all the residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said, ‘I’m religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.’

The waters rose up. A guy in a row boat came along and he shouted, ‘Hey, hey you! You in there. The town is flooding. Let me take you to safety.’ But the man shouted back, ‘I’m religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.’

A helicopter was hovering overhead. And a guy with a megaphone shouted, ‘Hey you, you down there. The town is flooding. Let me drop this ladder and I’ll take you to safety.’ But the man shouted back that he was religious, that he prayed, that God loved him and that God will take him to safety.

Well… the man drowned. And standing at the gates of St. Peter, he demanded an audience with God. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘I’m a religious man, I pray. I thought you loved me. Why did this happen?’

God said, ‘I sent you a radio report, a helicopter, and a guy in a rowboat. What the hell are you doing here?

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I don’t think we should assume everything is pre-destined

I don’t think we should assume we know God’s plan

I don’t think we should assume we should hand over responsibility for our lives

I don’t think we should assume we should hand over responsibility for the manner in which we die

I don’t think we should assume we are so important as to warrant divine intervention

I don’t think we should take a pass on what God has put before us

Perhaps God’s intent was for us to do everything in our power to live well and to live long.  When a child is struck ill with a deadly disease , it is “God’s will.”  Then, when a child is healed from a deadly disease, it is a miracle.  Is it less of a miracle if a motorcycle accident donates the heart needed or a new treatment cures the previously incurable?  Should we not partake of those things because God has a plan?  Shall we make no effort to assist in the extension of a healthy lifestyle?

Adult stem cells are the body’s natural healing system, presumable put there by God.  Shouldn’t we use them?

Doesn’t God want us to live and prosper? He did give us the equipment for it.  A body that heals and a mind that reasons, a world full of healing plants and doctors and scientists who were put here, also by God.  Is it not God’s intent for you to utilize all of the resources at our disposal, including perhaps, the 76,000,000 hits when you google “God” and “healing.”  The Vatican has given their full throated support to adult stem cells and they know a thing or two about God.  Is it not God’s intent for you to eat, to breath, to love, to connect, to perpetuate the species and to live as best as we can for as long as we can, if for no other reason, then to share and illuminate the word and beauty of God to as many as we can for as long as possible.

So this is your radio report, your row boat  and your helicopter.  If you embrace God, you must embrace food, embrace breathing, embrace health, embrace healing, embrace science and embrace longevity.  They are all put here by God for you to enjoy and benefit from.  To ignore them or turn away is as to turn your back on a gift from God.

RELATED ARTICLES:

AUTISM: IDENTITY OR DISABILITY?

In ALL ARTICLES, OFF THE BEATEN PATH on April 3, 2013 at 1:03 am

autistic child
If your child had Autism, would you want him to get treated or do you think that would change “who they are.”

Change who they are?  We all change who we are every moment of every day because that is our nature.  We are the sum total of all of our characteristics, good, bad and indifferent, our experiences, the people we meet in life and what we learn.  Given different circumstances, war, peace, hunger, satiety, illness, wellness, depression, happiness, love, hate, we are constantly changing.

There are many cultures who make meals with 5 tastes so they experience all there is to experience in every meal.  Experience is good.  And  I don’t think children are defined by an illness any more than they are defined by a capability.  Sure, your child is your Autistic child but do you define them that way?  “Hi, I’m Jane and this is my Autistic child Bobby.”  Maybe you do.  Maybe that helps pre-explain some behavioral idiosyncrasies.  But on a deeper level, isn’t your Autistic child “just” your child just as your child the doctor is fundamentally “just” your child.  If he loses his job or gets a divorce and comes crying to mommy, isn’t he “just your child.”  I think a child who’s got a condition or whose leg is amputated will continue to adapt and change just as a child who’s an elite runner or a protege pianist will continue to adapt and change.  It is not our illnesses or gifts that define us, nor is it what happens to us that defines us nor even what we are that defines us.  We are defined by how we deal with life, with adversity, with others and with ourselves.

All humans are dynamic and changing.  We learn, we grow, we evolve, we mature.  There is no single snap shot in life and to hold onto one identity is unhealthy, it would seem to me.  Like holding onto a snap shot of a child and remembering them only in that moment…even after they have grown past that moment and that point in their life.  I think we should all embrace change, growth and evolution.  I think we should all hope for more or hope for different, always, for all of us… because without it we are talking about a static existence.  And I believe that when we stop evolving, we start dying.

This argument goes on in the deaf community too.  I made the mistake of once, a long time ago, assuming everyone would want their deaf child healed.  Boy did I get an earful (no pun intended).  Many parents of deaf children, especially if the parents are deaf themselves, don’t want the child to lose the deaf culture.  But I wonder…does a deaf child who gains or regains their hearing suddenly forget sign language? DO they lose the ability to appreciate silence?  Or do they gain something and add it to their experiences, to who they are, to their identity?

I studied architecture and now I work in stem cells.  Have I lost what it means to be an architect?  Shall I excise it from my life and my resume?  Or did that help pave my path and will color my life for the rest of my life?

There’s a great story about how Steve Jobs dropped out of Stanford and in dropping out of the required courses, he was able to drop in on what interested him, like Calligraphy. That course then went on to define the fonts used in all Macs and then all PCs and all computing.  He took the computer science knowledge and added it to his calligraphy knowledge and many other experiences and all of it came together to define him and his work in unexpected ways…the whole is greater than the sum, of the parts.

Likewise, I do medical communications, writing, marketing…but I can’t help but look at buildings in a certain way, I think about space and light and movement.  I still design for friends and neighbors.  I can’t, not be an architect.  It’s part of me, it won’t go away.

I recently spent 4 hours in the Houston airport discussing the corporate design process with an ICloud designer and organization infrastructure guru but…he didn’t talk like a tech guy…he talked like an architect.  Turns out, like me, he had 2 degrees in architecture and like me, it colored everything he did in life and work.

I don’t think I’m the best architect in the world or even as good as I could be if I practiced my craft every day and I’m certainly not up to date on some of the codes and software but those experiences, that way of looking at the world and thinking and processing information, will never go away and I will never be able to define who I am without them.  One thing doesn’t replace another; it is all accumulative.

I don’t know.  Maybe that has no bearing on a child with Autism.  I probably would have to walk a mile (or run a marathon) in their or your shoes.  I’m just on the outside looking in.  But I’m willing to listen and learn because, after all, I’m always evolving, always changing.

AMNIOTIC STEM CELLS HEAL INTESTINAL DISORDER

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 27, 2013 at 9:00 am

shutterstock_20325178

Amniotic stem cells heal intestinal disorder that afflicts premature babies

A new study published in GUT (An International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology) has shown that amniotic fluid stem cells can reverse intestinal damage in rats caused by necrotising enterocolitis — an often fatal disorder that afflicts premature babies.

Paolo De Coppi had already proved that amniotic fluid could be reprogrammed in a similar way to how we reprogram embryonic stem cells, and without introducing potentially damaging genes to instigate the transformation (how adult cells are made pluripotent). Though not quite as versatile as the embryonic version, De Coppi showed that they could be converted into liver, bone and nerve cells.

What’s interesting about this latest study is that the stem cells calmed the intestinal inflammation, healed and reversed damage done to the gut far better than bone marrow stem cells (used in a rate control group), and in an unexpected way. After being injected, the cells travelled to the tiny villi that line the intestinal walls and absorb nutrients, where it then released an unknown substance that triggered progenitor cells to calm the inflammation and instigate tissue and villi regrowth. The team is unsure exactly how it released a growth factor to kick the progenitor cells into action, but it’s hoping further studies could clear this up — that knowledge could then be used to develop drugs that replicate the same action.

In the meantime, De Coppi says, “we hope that stem cells found in amniotic fluid will be used more widely in therapies and in research, particularly for the treatment of congenital malformations”.

Necrotising enterocolitis is common in premature babies, with inflammation rapidly leading to tissue death and a perforated intestine if antibiotics have no effect. At that point, an operation is the only option and these have a 70 percent survival rate due to related risks of surgery at such a young age, and can leave infants with a shortened intestine and trouble eating for the rest of their lives. This latest study gives hope for an injectable, non-invasive solution.

Stem cells have already been shown to have some incredible properties for regenerative medicine — most recently baboon embryonic stem cells were used to repair damaged arteries. However, due the ethical grey area embryonic experiments reside in, progress has inevitably been slower, with the first official human trials only recently beginning to take place. Stem cells derived from amniotic fluid have huge potential, but would mainly still rely on donors given the impracticalities of storing fluid from every birth. Nevertheless, according to estimates published in a 2005 study, just 150 donors would provide a match for 38 percent of the population.

De Coppi, who in 2010 made headlines when he built an 11-year-old boy a trachea replacement from his own bone marrow stem cells, is currently raising funding for his research into building rejection-free transplants from stem cells.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-03/25/amniotic-fluid

Image: Shutterstock

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Parkinson’s patients fund their own stem cell research

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

parkinsons

Healing Parkinson’s patients with their own stem cells

Up to 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Because aging is the chief risk factor for the disease, the patient population is expected to increase as the baby boom generation gets older.  Parkinson’s selectively kills brain cells that make the neurotransmitter dopamine, which enables movement. No one knows how it happens, or how to stop it. Researchers expect that transplanted dopamine-producing brain cells will eventually die, but perhaps not for 10 to 15 years.

The most visible symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremors, slowed movement, stooped posture and loss of balance, and trouble speaking. People sometimes walk with a shuffling gait, and they may experience severe and chronic pain. Patients’ faces can assume a mask-like expression.  Drugs that provide dopamine or mimic its effects can partially relieve the symptoms, but they produce side effects such as uncontrolled movement. Also, their effectiveness decreases over time.

A groundbreaking stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease is getting close to moving from lab research in La Jolla to therapy for patients. The research, funded by the patients and their supporters, could also pioneer a new model for moving medical advances from the lab into the clinic.

Eight Parkinson’s patients have allied with scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and medical professionals from Scripps Clinic for the project, which involves creating new brain cells from other cells in their own bodies. Because of the unusual, personalized nature of the research, the patients are participating with scientists and doctors as equals, meeting regularly to review the progress.

The ambitious goal is to relieve the movement difficulties Parkinson’s causes by replacing the brain cells the disease destroys. In theory, it would restore near-normal movement for a decade or more, and the procedure could be repeated as needed.

Research is far enough along that scientists and health care professionals in the project are talking to regulators about beginning clinical trials, perhaps as soon as next year.

The replacement brain cells are now being grown in a lab at The Scripps Research Institute. Patches of skin the diameter of a pencil eraser were removed from the patients’ arms and turned into a new kind of stem cell that acts like embryonic stem cells. Called induced pluripotent stem cells, they were discovered in 2006, a feat honored by a Nobel Prize last year.

These IPS cells can become nearly any kind of cell in the body… Another potential advantage of IPS cells over embryonic stem cells is that they should be less prone to rejection by the patients’ immune systems, because the transplanted cells come from the individuals themselves.

Patient Cassandra Peters, 57, learned of the reality of Parkinson’s and the hope of a new treatment in a visit with Dr. Houser, her neurologist.  “Interestingly, when I first had a conversation with her, when she definitively told me I had Parkinson’s, she said to me, quote, “You will have a stem cell procedure in your lifetime.”  I took that ball and held it in my heart, thinking, this is going to be my ‘get out of jail free’ card.  Not a day goes by when I don’t have an opportunity to share what I’m going through now and what the future might hold,” Peters said.

Ileana Slavin, a research associate in the lab of Jeanne Loring, and Suzanne Peterson, a staff scientist, discuss what it means for scientists to directly meet the people they’re trying to help.  Diabetes researcher Matthias von Herrath of the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology said the work could help scientists developing stem cell therapies for diabetics,” von Herrath said. “And that’s going to open the door for these type of stem cells.”

Loring’s researchers are reaching the final stages of their part of the project. They have made induced pluripotent stem cells from all eight patients, and have turned those into the needed brain cells for two of them. The work continues for the other six.

Parkinson’s represents the “low-hanging fruit” of neurological diseases for stem cell therapy.  We know what cell types are lost in Parkinson’s disease,” Bratt-Leal said in a March 8 meeting of the group. “We can make them from stem cells.  And now we can make stem cells from adult tissues.  The next logical step is to make these cells from people and put them back into them.”

“With IPS cells grown from the patient, rejection should be less of a worry”, Bratt-Leal said.

Now that the research side of the project has overcome its greatest hurdles, the focus is shifting to medicine, Loring said. The replacement brain cells will be grown in a clinical grade facility at the City of Hope in Los Angeles.  As part of the transition to the medical side, Houser will provide expertise in setting up the clinical trial, assuming approval is granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Beyond the potential benefit to the eight patients, the project may provide an answer to what Loring and other researchers call the “Valley of Death,” the period that halts promising research before it can become a medical treatment.  Most scientific research is federally funded, but commercialization is left to the private sector. If companies don’t see a way to make money, they won’t pursue a therapy, even if it works.  This problem is especially forbidding for treatments customized to individual patients. These don’t produce economies of scale, and hence are not attractive to pharmaceutical companies.  Advocates of the customized Parkinson’s therapy said it will pay off in the long run. Patients will require less medical care, and find it easier to maintain their jobs.

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Stem Cells from Human Adipose Tissue Used to Chase Migrating Cancer Cells

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on March 15, 2013 at 11:21 am
Stemness of primary AMSC lines demonstrated with differentiation along three mesenchymal lineages, Adipocyte (a, d [48], g), Osteocyte (b [48], e, h), and Chondrocyte (c [48], f, i), documented via lineage specific staining with Oil Red O, Alizarin Red, and Collagen II, respectively. (Credit: Pendleton et al. Mesenchymal Stem Cells Derived from Adipose Tissue vs Bone Marrow: In Vitro Comparison of Their Tropism towards Gliomas. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (3): e58198 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058198)
Using Fat to Fight Brain Cancer: Stem Cells from Human Adipose Tissue Used to Chase Migrating Cancer Cells

Mar. 12, 2013 — In laboratory studies, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have found that stem cells from a patient’s own fat may have the potential to deliver new treatments directly into the brain after the surgical removal of a glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor.


The investigators say so-called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have an unexplained ability to seek out damaged cells, such as those involved in cancer, and may provide clinicians a new tool for accessing difficult-to-reach parts of the brain where cancer cells can hide and proliferate anew. The researchers say harvesting MSCs from fat is less invasive and less expensive than getting them from bone marrow, a more commonly studied method.

STEM CELLS USED TO RESTORE WOMEN’S FERTILITY

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 14, 2013 at 9:00 am

fertility-self

Egg-producing stem cells found in human ovaries

Scientists say they have found a way to use ovarian stem cells to perhaps one day help infertile women get pregnant — or add years to a woman’s reproductive cycle.

In a study published in Nature Medicine, researchers report finding egg-producing stem cells in human ovaries. They also report being able to make some of those ovarian stem cells grow into immature eggs that may someday be useful for reproduction.  At this point, such “seed” eggs can’t be fertilized by sperm. But if scientists are able to entice them to mature and can prove they can be fertilized and grow into embryos — a feat that has been reported in mice — it would overturn a long-held scientific belief that women can’t make new eggs as they get older.

“What it does is really open a door into human reproduction that 10 years ago didn’t even exist,” says researcher Jonathan L. Tilly, PhD, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.

Outside experts agree. They say the findings could have profound importance for reproductive medicine and aging, allowing doctors not only to restore a woman’s fertility but also to potentially delay menopause.  “I think the significance of this work is like reporting that we found microorganisms on Mars,” says Kutluk Oktay, MD, who directs the Division of Reproductive Medicine and the Institute for Fertility Preservation at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y.

“It’s a proof of principle that they could do it,” says David F. Albertini, PhD, director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

The egg-generating stem cells the researchers were able to extract from ovaries were very rare. The researchers only came across one for every 10,000 or so ovarian cells that they counted.  But when they took those cells and implanted them back into human ovarian tissue, they divided and essentially made young eggs.

Tilly says his team stopped short of trying to make one of the eggs functional because “for a lot of reasons, as it should be,” it is illegal in the U.S. to experimentally fertilize human eggs.

“We think the evidence provided clearly indicates that this very unique, newly discovered pool of cells does exist in women,” he says.

“It’s a really exciting result,” says Evelyn Telfer, PhD, a cell biology expert at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  “What we’ve previously believed is that you don’t get new eggs formed during your adult life. This discovery shows that there’s the potential for them to be formed, no question about that,” Telfer says, “but it doesn’t actually show that they’re being formed under normal conditions.”

Indeed, she notes, experience would suggest otherwise. Women, after all, do lose their fertility as they age.  “There are cells there that under certain conditions have the potential to form [eggs]. That’s the really exciting part of this work. And of course they can be used. There’s a practical application,” she says.

Telfer has pioneered a technique that allows her to take immature human eggs and turn them into mature, fertilizable eggs outside the body. She has already partnered with Tilly to try to take his “seed” eggs to the next stage of development. With special government permission, she says, they may even be able to try to experimentally fertilize the eggs.

“It’s actually opening up a whole new field of research, to define these cells, to characterize these cells, and to use them in a practical way,” she says.

Tilly says that by using egg-generating stem cells to make large numbers of viable eggs, doctors might one day be able to cut the expense of in vitro fertilization (IVF), since women would no longer have to go through multiple cycles of treatment to harvest enough eggs to generate a pregnancy.

WebMD Health News

STEM CELL TRAIL BLAZER RICHARD HUMPHRIES WILL BE MISSED

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm

richard humphries

Richard Davis Humphries was a trail blazer in the area of adult stem cell treatments and his strength and passion will be missed. His successful treatment and recovery from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2007 enlightened untold numbers to the benefits and safety of adult stem cell treatments. If you didn’t know him, here’s a small piece of his battle and recovery from MS:

In March of 2007, “Humphries, a 54-year-old Alexandria native who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, was bedridden and suffering from excruciating pain with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

“Very few people know this,” he said, “but I prayed to die every day and night, for the pain was off the charts.”…

…”The night after the second injection, I started to feel better and the fog had lifted. The time was midnight, and I had not been able to stay up that late in some time. The pain was gone….

HUMPHRIES WAS THE FIRST ADIPOSE (FAT TISSUE) DERIVED STEM CELL RECIPIENT IN THE WORLD.  STEM CELLS FROM FAT HAVE SOME OF THE HIGHEST REGENERATIVE CAPABILITIES AND ARE FOUND IN SUPER ABUNDANCE, MAKING THEM AN IDEAL SOURCE FOR TREATMENT.


…In February (2008?), Humphries underwent another experimental stem cell treatment to regrow inner ear nerve hairs. It not only improved his hearing but helped him tolerate heat, which can be a problem for people with MS…

“It’s an amazing recovery,” Ichem said (Dr. Tom Ichem of San Diego, a scientist). “I was with him in (Washington) D.C. and spent three days with him, and I was, honestly, bona fide flabbergasted. It’s one thing to read about recoveries like this, but to see it first hand — I hate to say ‘miracle,’ but it was absolutely something very, very stunning. Usually when we develop new treatments, we see results with some impact, but I’ve never seen this kind of stunning impact. It literally shocked me.”

Rest In Peace my friend. You will be missed.

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