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Turning skin cells directly into cells that insulate neurons | KurzweilAI

Turning skin cells directly into cells that insulate neurons | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have succeeded in transforming skin cells directly into oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), the cells that myelinate nerve cells (wrap them in the insulating myelin sheaths that help nerve signals propagate) and would work successfully when transplanted into the brains of mice with a myelin disorder.

 

 

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Lab-made rat kidneys raise hopes for dialysis patients

Lab-made rat kidneys raise hopes for dialysis patients | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Scientists have discovered yet another way to make a kidney - at least for a rat - that does everything a natural one does, researchers reported on Sunday, a step toward savings thousands of lives and making organ donations obsolete.

The latest lab-made kidney sets up a horse race in the booming field of regenerative medicine, which aims to produce replacement organs and other body parts.

 

 

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Stroke rehabilitation system shows users how to improve their dexterity

Stroke rehabilitation system shows users how to improve their dexterity | Longevity science | Scoop.it

People recovering from strokes can often find rehabilitation very frustrating. They try to move their hand in a certain way, for instance, but it just won’t do it – why not? That’s where a new system known as the Synergistic Physio-Neuro Platform (SynPhNe) comes into the picture. It guides patients through exercises, monitors their performance, and lets them know why they’re unable to perform certain tasks. They can then use that knowledge to self-correct their actions, instead of just getting exasperated.

 

 

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New diagnostic technology may lead to individualized treatments for prostate cancer - Cedars-Sinai

NanoVelcro Chip device captures and isolates potentially high-risk cancer cells

Via Brian Shields
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Brian Shields's curator insight, April 14, 2013 11:02 AM

A great advancement may be on the horizon for the treatment of patients with Prostate Cancer.  The use of circulating tumor cells or "liquid biopsies" may prevent the need for painful and invasive procedures to obtain biopsy tissue.

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Exercise as good as massage for sore muscles

Exercise as good as massage for sore muscles | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The aches and pains people suffer after working out more than usual can be relieved just as well by exercise as by massage, according to a new study.

"It's a common belief that massage is better, but it isn't better. Massage and exercise had the same benefits," said Lars Andersen, the lead author of the study and a professor at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.

 

 

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Spleen-on-a-chip could treat bloodstream infections

Spleen-on-a-chip could treat bloodstream infections | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The spleen’s job is to filter our blood. When people are critically ill or have received traumatic injuries, however, the spleen alone is sometimes not able to remove enough of the pathogens on its own – potentially-fatal sepsis is the result. In order to help avert such an outcome in those situations, scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University are developing a device known as the spleen-on-a-chip.

 

The patient’s blood is circulated through the device. The process begins with magnetic nanobeads being mixed with the blood. Those beads are coated with a genetically engineered version of a human blood opsonin protein, that bonds with pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and toxins.

 

 

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Moving cells with light holds medical promise | KurzweilAI

Moving cells with light holds medical promise | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown they can coax cells to move toward a beam of light. The feat is a first step toward manipulating cells to control factors such as insulin secretion or heart rate using light.

 

Their research is published April 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

“We have succeeded in using light as a kind of on-off switch to control cells’ behavior,” says principal investigator N. Gautam, PhD, a professor of anesthesiology. “Much of the way cells behave is due to their ability to sense signals in the environment. In these experiments, what the cells sense is the presence of light.”

 

 

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Squid beak-inspired material could find use in medical implants

Squid beak-inspired material could find use in medical implants | Longevity science | Scoop.it

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to squid beaks, but they actually possess a pretty interesting quality. While the end of the beak is hard and sharp, the beak material gradually becomes softer as it nears the mouth. This means that there’s no abrupt boundary between the hard beak and the soft mouth, which could result in discomfort or injuries. Inspired by the squid, scientists at Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University have now developed a material with the same qualities, that could be used to create more comfortable, less harmful medical implants.

 

The natural squid beak is composed of a nanocomposite material, made up of “a network of chitin fibers embedded within increasingly cross-linked structural proteins from mouth to tip.” While that gradient is present even when the beak is dry, it’s particularly apparent when it’s wet – and squid beaks tend to be wet a lot.

 

 

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Non-dairy calcium seen to lower kidney stone risk

Non-dairy calcium seen to lower kidney stone risk | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Getting plenty of calcium from foods has been shown to lower the likelihood of kidney stones in those most at risk, but a new study makes clear the benefit isn't just linked to milk products.

 

 

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Unique droplet network 3D printer produces synthetic tissues

Unique droplet network 3D printer produces synthetic tissues | Longevity science | Scoop.it

While the prospect of 3D printers pumping out biological tissues and replacement organs has many justifiably excited, researchers at Oxford University have gone in a slightly different direction with the creation of a custom 3D printer capable of producing synthetic materials that have some of the properties of living tissues.

 

Rather than being intended for supplying spare parts for damaged replicants, the new materials could be used for drug delivery or replacing or interfacing with damaged tissues inside the human body.

 

 

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Omega-3 fatty acids tied to longer life, study finds

Omega-3 fatty acids tied to longer life, study finds | Longevity science | Scoop.it

A new study suggests adults with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood are less likely to die from a range of causes than those with the lowest levels.

 

Researchers found people with the most circulating omega-3s - usually found in oily fishes such as tuna or sardines - lived about two years longer than those with the lowest levels, on average.

 

 

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Using cryptography, scientists have invented a new technique to decrypt eukaryotic genomes

Using cryptography, scientists have invented a new technique to decrypt eukaryotic genomes | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The main function of gene promoters appears to be the integration of different gene products in their biological pathways in order to maintain homeostasis. Generally, promoters have been classified in two major classes, namely TATA and CpG. Nevertheless, many genes using the same combinatorial formation of transcription factors have different gene expression patterns. Accordingly, a group of scientists has now tried to find some fundamental questions: Why certain genes have an overall predisposition for higher gene expression levels than others? What causes such a predisposition? Is there a structural relationship of these sequences in different tissues? Is there a strong phylogenetic relationship between promoters of closely related species?

 

In order to gain valuable insights into different promoter regions, they obtained a series of image-based patterns allowing the identificaion of 10 generic classes of promoters. A comprehensive analysis was undertaken for promoter sequences from Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster, Homo sapiensand Oryza sativa, and a more extensive analysis of tissue-specific promoters in humans. The scientists observed a clear preference for these species to use certain classes of promoters for specific biological processes. Moreover, in humans, they found that different tissues use distinct classes of promoters, reflecting an emerging promoter network. Depending on the tissue type, comparisons made between these classes of promoters reveal a complementarity between their patterns whereas some other classes of promoters have been observed to occur in competition. Furthermore, they also noticed the existence of some transitional states between these classes of promoters that may explain certain evolutionary mechanisms, which suggest a possible predisposition for specific levels of gene expression and perhaps for a different number of factors responsible for triggering gene expression. They conclusions from all this are based on comprehensive data from three different databases and a new computer model whose core is using Kappa index of coincidence.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Tea’s health benefits boost its popularity

Tea’s health benefits boost its popularity | Longevity science | Scoop.it

 

The most striking studies find a connection to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

In the latte-obsessed United States, tea is gaining ground as scientists and the public learn more about its benefits.

A growing body of research suggests that the world’s second-most-consumed beverage — only water is more popular — helps prevent cardiovascular disease, burn calories and ward off some types of cancer.

 

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Scientists Identify Two Genes (HoxA5 and HoxC5) Essential for Breathing

Scientists Identify Two Genes (HoxA5 and HoxC5) Essential for Breathing | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Researchers have discovered that two genes Hoxa5 and Hoxc5 play a critical role in establishing the neuronal circuits required for breathing.

 

The three-year study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience identifies a molecular code that distinguishes a group of muscle-controlling nerve cells collectively known as the phrenic motor column (PMC).

“These cells lie about halfway up the back of the neck, just above the fourth cervical vertebra, and are probably the most important motor neurons in your body,” explained senior author Prof Jeremy Dasen of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

 

Harming the part of the spinal cord where the PMC resides can instantly shut down breathing. But relatively little is known about what distinguishes PMC neurons from neighboring neurons, and how PMC neurons develop and wire themselves to the diaphragm in the fetus. The PMC cells relay a constant flow of electrochemical signals down their bundled axons and onto the diaphragm muscles, allowing the lungs to expand and relax in the natural rhythm of breathing.

 

“We now have a set of molecular markers that distinguish those cells from other populations of motor neurons, so that we can study them in detail and look for ways to selectively enhance their survival,” Prof Dasen said.

To find out what distinguishes PMC neurons from their spinal neighbors in mice, the scientists injected a retrograde fluorescent tracer into the phrenic nerve, which wires the PMC to the diaphragm, and then looked for the spinal neurons that lit up as the tracer worked its way back to the PMC. They used transgenic mice that express green fluorescent protein (GFP) in motor neurons and their axons in order to see the phrenic nerve. After noting the characteristic gene expression pattern of these PMC neurons, the scientists began to determine their specific roles.

 

“When Hoxa5 and Hoxc5 are silenced in embryonic motor neurons in mice,” the scientists reported, “the PMC fails to form its usual, tightly columnar organization and doesn’t connect correctly to the diaphragm, leaving a newborn animal unable to breathe.”

 

“Even if you delete these genes late in fetal development, the PMC neuron population drops and the phrenic nerve doesn’t form enough branches on diaphragm muscles,” Prof Dasen said.

 

Prof Dasen plans to use the findings to help understand the wider circuitry of breathing – including rhythm-generating neurons in the brain stem, which are in turn responsive to carbon dioxide levels, stress, and other environmental factors. “Now that we know something about PMC cells, we can work our way through the broader circuit, to try to figure out how all those connections are established,” he said.

 

“Once we understand how the respiratory network is wired we can begin to develop novel treatment options for breathing disorders such as sleep apneas,” said lead author Dr Polyxeni Philippidou.


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Swiss researchers advance "breathprinting" for health checks

Swiss researchers advance "breathprinting" for health checks | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Traditional Chinese medicine has long analyzed breath as a way to assess human health and in recent times state-of-the-art technology has been brought to this approach to diagnose various diseases and even stress. Swiss researchers at ETH Zurich and at the University Hospital Zurich are continuing to advance this field by developing a “breathprinting” technique using mass spectrometry that they hope will become competitive with the established analysis methods based on blood and urine.

The scientists modified commercial mass spectrometers to suit the experiment, adding a breath sampling inlet line to deliver exhaled breath from a mouth piece directly into the instrument. The researchers noted two important facts. The first is that the chemical breathprint of exhaled breath, based on volatile and semi-volatile metabolites, showed an individual core pattern. The second was that, during the 11-day test, the breathprint remained constant, making it useful for medical analysis.

 

 

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Will Google's Ray Kurzweil Live Forever?

Will Google's Ray Kurzweil Live Forever? | Longevity science | Scoop.it

"I'm right on the cusp," he adds. "I think some of us will make it through"—he means baby boomers, who can hope to experience practical immortality if they hang on for another 15 years.

By then, Mr. Kurzweil expects medical technology to be adding a year of life expectancy every year. We will start to outrun our own deaths. And then the wonders really begin. The little computers in our hands that now give us access to all the world's information via the Web will become little computers in our brains giving us access to all the world's information. Our world will become a world of near-infinite, virtual possibilities.

 

 

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Some drinking tied to longer life post-breast cancer

Women with breast cancer who had a few alcoholic drinks per week before their diagnosis were slightly less likely to die from their cancer, according to a study that followed newly-diagnosed patients for 11 years, on average.

Moderate drinking before and after a breast cancer diagnosis was also tied to better heart health and fewer deaths from non-cancer causes, the study team found.

 

 

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Future ‘microrockets’ and ‘micromotors’ to deliver drugs, perform microsurgery | KurzweilAI

Future ‘microrockets’ and ‘micromotors’ to deliver drugs, perform microsurgery | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

An advance in micromotor technology is opening the door to broad new medical and industrial uses for these tiny devices, scientists said the national American Chemical Society meeting this week.

 

Akin to the invention of cars that fuel themselves from the pavement or air, rather than gasoline or batteries,

 

Joseph Wang, D.Sc., who leads research on the motors, said that efforts to build minute, self-powered robot devices have evoked memories of the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage. It featured a miniaturized submarine, which doctors injected into a patient. It then navigated through blood vessels to remove a blood clot in the brain.

 

 

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Vitamin E status may be reliable biomarker for Alzheimer’s: Study

Vitamin E status may be reliable biomarker for Alzheimer’s: Study | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Screening levels of vitamin E in the blood could help to improve the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to new research that suggests the vitamin may also aid in protection.
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Ask Ray | Thoughts on the consequences of the elimination of aging | KurzweilAI

Ask Ray | Thoughts on the consequences of the elimination of aging | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

What if humans were to completely eliminate the process of aging in, say, the next ten or twenty years (probably before the technological singularity)?

 

What would be the worldwide consequences of such a development?

 

Would the elimination of aging, and thereby the elimination of death, ultimately, have good or bad consequences?

 

 

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Scott Baldwin's comment, April 10, 2013 12:25 AM
Well, I hate to suggest such horrible expectations, but I fear that the following would occur, over time: Overpopulation, insurmountable taxing of natural resources, mounting tensions leading to unbridled war, and more death than what happened naturally prior to the elimination of aging. I suspect that the only thing that could prevent these inevitabilities would be the development of space travel sufficient to reduce earth's bio-load, and the massive reduction of our collective carbon footprint by emerging green technology.
Scott Baldwin's comment, April 10, 2013 1:33 AM
Holy smokes, I did not click through to the actual article and the other responses, but it seems there are some similar thoughts.
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Fitness after 65 is no one-size-fits-all endeavor

Fitness after 65 is no one-size-fits-all endeavor | Longevity science | Scoop.it

NEW YORK (Reuters) - America's aging population is posing special challenges, fitness experts say, because it is difficult to design effective workout routines for people with such a wide range of abilities.

 

Physical activity can reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis...

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Cancer checkpoint: Mitochondrial metabolic regulator SIRT4 guards against DNA damage

Cancer checkpoint: Mitochondrial metabolic regulator SIRT4 guards against DNA damage | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Healthy cells don't just happen. As they grow and divide, they need checks and balances to ensure they function properly while adapting to changing conditions around them.

 

Researchers studying a set of proteins that regulate physiology, caloric restriction and aging have discovered another important role that one of them plays. SIRT4, one of seven sirtuin proteins, is known for controlling fuel usage from its post in the mitochondria, the cell's energy source. It responds to stressful changes in the availability of nutrients for the cell.

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Muscadinex's curator insight, April 8, 2013 6:29 PM

This is an interesting article on the SIRT4 gene. Resveratrol plays an important part in activating these cells longevity properties.

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New cancer radiation therapy treatment with no harmful side effects

New cancer radiation therapy treatment with no harmful side effects | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Shortly after the discovery of the neutron in 1932, some scientists recognized the potential of boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) as a cancer treatment. But despite decades of research, the problem of finding a delivery agent that would more effectively target the tumor without harming surrounding tissue persisted. Researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) may finally have found a solution.

 

BNCT traditionally involves injecting tumors with the non-radioactive boron-10 isotope capture agent that is then radiated with a beam of epithermal neutrons that interact with the capture agent to produce a biologically destructive nuclear caption reaction. This results in the formation of boron 11 with the release of lethal radiation in the form of alpha particles (helium-4) and lithium ions that kill the tumor. Although numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the safety of BNCT, the challenge has been finding more tumor-selective boron delivery agents.

 

 

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A Million Smartphones Will Drive Biggest Heart Health Study in History

A Million Smartphones Will Drive Biggest Heart Health Study in History | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are recruiting a million participants to join a decade long heart health study. The enabling factor? Smartphones. It’s a great example of information technology bleeding into other fields and speeding their progress. 

 

If all goes to plan, the UCSF study (dubbed Health eHeart) will be the broadest such study ever completed.

 

 

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High speed cancer-cell testing | KurzweilAI

High speed cancer-cell testing | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

 

Fast, precise, inexpensive cancer-cell testing device (credit: EPFL)

 

Among a significant percentage of patients, the risk of metastasis of cancer is particularly expressed by the presence of an abnormal amount of protein HER2 on the surface of cancer cells.

 

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Graham Player Ph.D.'s curator insight, April 3, 2013 2:04 PM

A new diagnostic device has been developed that tests for the presence of a protein on the surface of cancer cells. The test can be done in just a few minutes compared to the current lengthy traditional method.