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TheLancet.com

TheLancet.com | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Does offering workers financial incentives to exercise increase levels of physical activity? Has restricting advertising of unhealthy foods to children been a success? Should health practitioners be paying more attention to YouTube?

 

All these questions - and more - are addressed in this collection of abstracts and posters to coincide with a new conference for 2012 dedicated to the latest research in public health, in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, National Heart Forum, and The Lancet.

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Longevity science
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Global life expectancy has 'increased by 6 years since 1990'

Global life expectancy has 'increased by 6 years since 1990' | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Between 1990 and 2013, global life expectancy increased by nearly 5.8 years in men and 6.6 years in women, according to a new analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 published in The Lancet.
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Clot-grabbing devices offer better outcomes for stroke patients

Reuters Health - Going into the blocked artery of someone who is having a stroke to remove the clot is more likely to produce a good recovery than treatment with just clot-busting drugs, according to a study of 500 patients in the Netherlands.

"Catching the clot and fishing it out of the blocked artery to reopen it makes a big difference in outcome," Dr. Jeffrey Saver, a director of the University of California Los Angeles Stroke Center, told Reuters Health. The devices to retrieve clots have been around for a while but until now “we hadn't had a clinical trial showing that they made patients better."
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Zinc blood test could lead to early diagnosis of breast cancer

Zinc blood test could lead to early diagnosis of breast cancer | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Early diagnosis of breast cancer could one day be possible via a simple blood test that detects changes in zinc in the body. Scientists have taken techniques normally used for studying climate change and planetary formation and shown that changes in the isotopic composition of zinc, which is detectable in breast tissue, may help identify a "biomarker" (a measurable indicator) of early breast cancer.
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Hormone combo a triple threat to obesity and adult-onset diabetes

Hormone combo a triple threat to obesity and adult-onset diabetes | Longevity science | Scoop.it
By molecularly combining three hormones to form a new peptide, researchers have effectively cured obesity and adult-onset diabetes in rodents, with human trials of the molecule now planned.
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New ‘electronic skin’ detects pressure from different directions | KurzweilAI

New ‘electronic skin’ detects pressure from different directions | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Korean researchers have developed a stretchable “electronic skin” closely modeled on human skin. The technology could have applications in prosthetic limbs, robotics, wearable electronics, remote surgery, and biomedical devices.

Top: illustration of hexagonal microdome arrays modeled on human skin. Bottom: cross-sectional SEM images of microdome-
patterned conductive film. Scale bars: 5 μm. (Credit: American Chemical Society)

Current electronic skins are flexible, film-like devices designed to detect stress (pressure), read brain activity, monitor heart rate, or perform other functions. The new technology can also sense the direction and amount of stress, providing cues for the shape and texture of an object and how to hold it.
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New Stem Cell State | The Scientist Magazine®

New Stem Cell State | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Researchers from Canada’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and their international colleagues have uncovered a new type of pluripotent mouse stem cell—the “F-class” cell—through use of a somatic cell reprogramming approach. An F-class cell is able to differentiate into all three embryonic precursor tissues, yet is phenotypically and molecularly different from previously characterized induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) made from somatic cells. These F-class cells proliferate more quickly than other stem cells in vitro, and are characteristically low-adhesion, giving them a fuzzy appearance. The results are published today (December 10) in Nature.
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Photoswitch therapy restores vision to blind lab animals

Photoswitch therapy restores vision to blind lab animals | Longevity science | Scoop.it
A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light.

The procedure starts with an adeno-associated virus. Some retina cells in blind mice survive after disease kills the rod and cone photoreceptors, but they won't work on their own. The virus inserts a gene that instructs the cells to produce a modified version of a common glutamate receptor ion channel. Then photoswitches are attached to the newly-formed ion channels, akin to a glutamate amino acid dangling on a light-sensitive string. When light hits a photoswitch, it forces an ion channel open, thereby turning the retinal neurons on and off many times a second.
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Scientists find brain mechanism behind glucose greed

British scientists have found a brain mechanism they think may drive our desire for glucose-rich food and say the discovery could one day lead to better treatments for obesity.

In experiments using rats, researchers at Imperial College London found a mechanism that appears to sense how much glucose is reaching the brain and prompts animals to seek more if it detects a shortfall. In people, the scientists said, it may play a role in driving our preference for sweet and starchy foods.
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Resveratrol in red wine could help cut alcohol-related cancer risk

Resveratrol in red wine could help cut alcohol-related cancer risk | Longevity science | Scoop.it

"A recent study from the University of Colorado suggests that the chemical resveratrol found in grape skins and in red wine can help block the cancer-causing effects of alcohol.

"Alcohol bombards your genes," says Robert Sclafani, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the CU School of Medicine. "Your body has ways to repair this damage, but with enough alcohol eventually some damage isn’t fixed."

The body metabolizes alcohol by converting it to acetyl aldehyde, then uses aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) to further convert it to acetic acid, which is excreted. Acetyl aldehyde, a partially processed state of alcohol, is a carcinogen that produces DNA "cross links" that can cause cell death.

If enough alcohol is consumed..."

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Donovan Baldwin's curator insight, December 7, 9:48 AM

In the saloons of the old west, this was known as "coppering your bet". You hope to win either way. Bottom line; if you don't drink, don't start...too many health issues. However, if you DO enjoy the occasional tipple, stick to red wine, which contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant.

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Fabrics that transmit biomedical data | KurzweilAI

Fabrics that transmit biomedical data | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Canadian researchers have developed “smart textiles” able to monitor and transmit wearers’ biomedical information via wireless or cellular network by superimposing multiple layers of copper, polymers, glass, and silver.

“The fiber acts as both sensor and antenna. It is durable but...

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Spice up your memory: Just one gram of turmeric a day could boost memory

Spice up your memory: Just one gram of turmeric a day could boost memory | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Adding just one gram of turmeric to breakfast could help improve the memory of people who are in the very early stages of diabetes and at risk of cognitive impairment. The finding has particular significance given that the world's ageing population means a rising incidence of conditions that predispose people to diabetes, which in turn is connected to dementia.

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Mediterranean diet linked to longer life | KurzweilAI

Mediterranean diet linked to longer life | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with longer telomere length — a marker of slower aging and thus long life, a study published in the BMJ this week suggests.

The Mediterranean diet has been consistently linked with health benefits, including reduced mortality and reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

The diet is based on a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (such as peas, beans and lentils), and (mainly unrefined) grains; a high intake of olive oil but a low intake of saturated fats; a moderately high intake of fish, a low intake of dairy products, meat and poultry; and regular but moderate intake of alcohol (specifically wine with meals).
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Top 10 Innovations 2014 | The Scientist Magazine®

Top 10 Innovations 2014 | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Dicing genomic DNA into bits is essential to obtain short-read, high-coverage sequence data, but this process destroys the genome’s broader topography. The IrysChip from BioNano Genomics provides a high-throughput platform for visualizing large-scale genomic structure, with applications for mapping, assembly, and evolutionary analyses.

A series of enzymatic reactions incorporate fluorescently labeled nucleotides at specific sites throughout the genome—typically seven-base-pair restriction sites. Researchers then add the labeled DNA to a silicon chip with two flow cells, each consisting of about 13,000 50-nanometers-wide channels, says BioNano Genomics CEO Erik Holmlin. The ultranarrow channels cause the DNA to stretch out, and the chip acts as a sophisticated electrophoresis chamber. The system captures high-resolution, single-molecule images of even a very large genome’s structure.
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Experimental treatment could target individual cells deep inside the body

Experimental treatment could target individual cells deep inside the body | Longevity science | Scoop.it

A new experimental, non-invasive medical technique is promising to precisely deliver drug-carrying metal nanorods anywhere inside the body and image tissue with cellular resolution. If perfected, the approach could be used to treat inoperable deep-tissue tumors, brain trauma, and vascular or degenerative diseases.


The recent forward strides of nanotechnology are opening the door for medical applications that were hard to fathom even just a few years ago, and span from healing broken bones to precisely delivering drug-carrying nanoparticles to fight cancerous cells.



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3D printing points way to smarter cancer treatment

(Reuters) - British scientists have developed a new use for 3D printing, putting it to work to create personalized replica models of cancerous parts of the body to allow doctors to target tumors more precisely.

The initiative is the latest example of medicine harnessing the rapidly emerging technology, which has already been used to manufacture some medical implants.

3D printing makes products by layering material until a three-dimensional object is created. Automotive and aerospace companies use it for producing prototypes as well as creating specialized tools, moldings and some end-use parts.
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Organic blood-oxygen sensor can be stuck on like a Band-Aid

Organic blood-oxygen sensor can be stuck on like a Band-Aid | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Maintaining a steady blood oxygen level is critical for the body to stave off breathing problems and organ trouble. For those needing to keep a close eye on things, there's no shortage of monitoring systems and dedicated pulse oximeters available, but these can be somewhat unwieldy. Scientists at the University of California (UC) Berkeley are looking to make the process a little less cumbersome with the development of a thin, blood-oxygen sensor that can be worn much like a Band-Aid.

Typical pulse oximeters rely on LEDs that shoot both infrared and red light through certain parts of the body, usually a fingertip or earlobe, with a sensor waiting on the receiving end to gauge how much makes it through. As blood that is rich in oxygen absorbs more infrared light, and darker low-oxygen blood absorbs more red light, the sensor assesses the ratio of the two as they come out the other side and gains an indication of the blood's oxygen levels.
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Seven life-changing surgeries made possible by 3D printing

Seven life-changing surgeries made possible by 3D printing | Longevity science | Scoop.it
3D printing is already having a real-life impact. Its capacity to produce customized implants and medical devices tailored specifically to a patient's anatomy has seen it open up all kinds of possibilities in the field of medicine, with the year 2014 having turned up one world-first surgery after another. Let's cast our eye over some of the significant, life-changing procedures to emerge in the past year made possible by 3D printing technology.
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"Fat-burning pill" inches closer to reality

"Fat-burning pill" inches closer to reality | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Researchers at Harvard University say they have identified two chemical compounds that could replace "bad" fat cells in the human body with healthy fat-burning cells, in what may be the first step toward the development of an effective medical treatment – which could even take the form of a pill – to help control weight gain.

Not all fat is created equal. While white fat cells store energy as lipids and contribute to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the less common brown fat cells pack energy in iron-rich mitochondria...

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Artificial Enzymes from Artificial DNA Challenge Life As We Know It

Artificial Enzymes from Artificial DNA Challenge Life As We Know It | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In the decade or so since the Human Genome Project was completed, synthetic biology has grown rapidly. Impressive advances include the first bacteria to use a chemically-synthesized genome and creation of a synthetic yeast chromosome.

Recently, scientists from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, led by Dr. Philip Hollinger, reported creating the first completely artificial enzymes that are functional. The breakthrough was published in the journal Nature and builds on prior success by the group in creating several artificial nucleotides.
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Vaccine self-assembles into 3D structure to better fight cancer and deadly infections

Vaccine self-assembles into 3D structure to better fight cancer and deadly infections | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Scientists have had some success activating the body's immune system to take the fight to cancer and other diseases, a process known as immunotherapy. Now, a new method developed by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University could advance this form of treatment even further. The technique involves the injection of biomaterials that assemble into 3D scaffolds inside the body to accommodate huge amounts of immune cells, a process that could trigger an attack on deadly infections ranging from HIV to cancer to Ebola.
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Compound kills off malaria by making infected cells appear as aging red blood cells

Compound kills off malaria by making infected cells appear as aging red blood cells | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Though recent research has given hope to the anti-malaria cause, the deadly disease still claims more than half a million lives each year. A study led by researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis suggests that a certain compound results in the body's immune system treating malaria-infected cells the same way it does aging red blood cells, leading to the parasite becoming undetectable in mice within 48 hours.

The researchers discovered that by targeting a specific protein in the malaria parasite known as ATP4, they could affect change in the infected red blood cells. The reason for this is ATP4 has the important function of regulating the parasite's sodium balance.
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Platelets Fan Inflammation | The Scientist Magazine®

Platelets Fan Inflammation | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
When neutrophils are unable to bind to platelets, they fail to migrate normally, and inflammation is reduced.


Read more about the role platelets play in inflammation:

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Selenium compounds boost immune system to fight against cancer

Selenium compounds boost immune system to fight against cancer | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Cancer types such as melanoma, prostate cancer and certain types of leukemia weaken the body by over-activating the natural immune system. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have now demonstrated that selenium -- naturally found in, e.g., garlic and broccoli -- slows down the immune over-response. In the long term, this may improve cancer treatment. The findings have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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Nanotube film could replace defective retinas

Nanotube film could replace defective retinas | Longevity science | Scoop.it
A promising new study suggests that a wireless, light-sensitive, and flexible film could potentially form part of a prosthetic device to replace damaged or defective retinas. The film both absorbs light and stimulates neurons without being connected to any wires or external power sources, standing it apart from silicon-based devices used for the same purpose. It has so far been tested only on light-insensitive retinas from embryonic chicks, but the researchers hope to see the pioneering work soon reach real-world human application.

Some neurons are genetically-predisposed to be sensitive to light. An emerging field called optogenetics uses light to stimulate and control those neurons, with applications not only in vision but also in gene therapy, brain mapping, reducing pain sensitivity, treatment of neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, and even mind control.
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Electronic implants treat staph infections, and then dissolve

Electronic implants treat staph infections, and then dissolve | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose.

Each device consists of a silk protein substrate, on top of which a magnesium resistor and power-receiving coil are protected in a waterproof envelope made of more silk.

The scientists implanted the devices at Staphylococcus aureus infection sites in mice. An external transmitter was then used to wirelessly activate their coils, causing them to heat up. This technique was used for two sets of 10-minute heat treatments.
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