Cardiac stress, for example a heart attack or high blood pressure, frequently leads to pathological heart growth and subsequently to heart failure. Two tiny RNA molecules play a key role in this detrimental development in mice, as researchers at the Hannover Medical School and the Göttingen Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry have now discovered. When they inhibited one of those two specific molecules, they were able to protect the rodent against pathological heart growth and failure. With these findings, the scientists hope to be able to develop therapeutic approaches that can protect humans against heart failure.
The scientists involved in this study had observed that these microRNAs are more prevalent in the cardiac muscle cells of mice suffering from cardiac hypertrophy. To determine the role that the two microRNAs play, the scientists bred genetically modified mice that had an abnormally large number of these molecules in their heart muscle cells. "These rodents developed cardiac hypertrophy and lived for only three to six months, whereas their healthy conspecifics had a normal healthy life-span of several years," explained Kamal Chowdhury, researcher in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. "For comparison, we also selectively switched off these microRNAs in other mice. These animals had a slightly smaller heart than their healthy conspecifics, but did not differ from them in behaviour or life-span," continued the biologist. The crucial point is when the scientists subjected the hearts of these mice to stress by narrowing the aorta, the mice did not develop cardiac hypertrophy – in contrast to normal mice.
The scientists were also able to protect normal mice against the disease. When they gave them a substance that selectively inhibits microRNA-132, no pathological cardiac growth occurred – even when the hearts of these mice were subjected to stress. "Thus, for the first time ever, we have found a molecular approach for treating pathological cardiac growth and heart failure in mice," said the cardiologist Thomas Thum, MD, Director of the Institute for Molecular and Translational Therapy Strategies (IMTTS) at the Hannover Medical School. With these findings, the researchers hope that they will be able to develop therapeutic approaches that can also protect humans against heart failure. "Such microRNA inhibitors, alone or in combination with conventional treatments, could represent a promising new therapeutic approach," said Thum.
"In mice with an overdosage of the two microRNAs in their heart muscle cells, the cellular ‘recycling program' is curbed," explained Ahmet Ucar, who together with Shashi K. Gupta was responsible for the experiments. In this recycling process, the cell breaks down components that are damaged or no longer required and reuses their constituents – a vital process that, for example, ensures the organism’s survival under stress conditions. In mice without the microRNAs -212 and 132, this recycling program is more active than in their normal conspecifics. Conceivably, the reduced cellular recycling could be a cause of the observed cardiac hypertrophy.
A range of diseases and conditions, from asthma to liver disease, could be diagnosed and monitored quickly and painlessly just by breathing, using gas sensing technology developed by a Cambridge spin-out.
While hospital robots sound like the stuff of the future, the technology is already in wide use today.
If you’ve been waiting for the day when robot doctors will cut you open, monitor you recovery, and keep you company in your hospital room, you won’t have to wait much longer.
“We’re in the first inning of a nine-inning exercise. The average patient walks in a hospital and is not touched by robotics. That’s going to change in 10 years,” said John Simon, a partner at Boston-based investment firm Sigma Prime Ventures.
That adoption rate, Simon argues, is based on cost: As the price of robotics adoption decreases, hospitals may be more likely to invest in new technology. At their core, robots aren’t all that different from any other hospital gear.
The problem for hospitals, however, is that there’s a danger in pursuing robotics too far. “With medical robots, if you automate something too much, people won’t accept it,” Simon said.
This results in a fine line that hospitals and doctors must manage. While some automation and robotics is good, the last thing a hospital wants to do is embrace robots to such an extent that they alienate patients.
Little of that, however, is on the minds of hospitals today. Right now, most of them are just trying to figure out how to get robots in the front door. Here are a few ways robots are changing hospitals today.
Solicitar Matrícula PROPOSITO GENERAL: Mejorar las destrezas técnicas de los equipos que tienen a su cargo el diseño y gestión continuada de conjuntos de prestaciones de salud en los países de la región.
Current Topics in Public Health. Edited by: Alfonso J. Rodriguez-Morales. ISBN 978-953-51-1121-4, Published 2013-05-15
Mariano Fernandez's insight:
"Current Topics in Public Health - [ISBN 978-953-51-1121-4]". El libro es producto de investigaciones, experiencias y revisiones sobre diferentes tópicos de interés actual en el campo de la salud pública, con la participación de autores demúltiples países (Australia, Bangladesh, Camerún, Canada, Colombia, Estados Unidos de América, India, Italia, Japón, Nigeria, Perú, Portugal, Suiza, Suráfrica, Tanzania, Venezuela) e instituciones como: Centro Nacional de Endoscopia CITE, Clínica Mayo, COODESURIS, Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina Pereira, George Washington University, Okayama University, Universidad de Adelaide, Universidad de Cartagena, Universidad de Córdoba, Universidad de Lisboa, Universidad de Los Andes, Universidad de Muhimbili, Universidad de Porto, Universidad de Siena, Universidad de Twshane, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Universidad Internacional de la Florida, Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira (UTP), Université Laval, entre otras.
This book is product of researchs, experiences and reviews on different topics, actually of interest, in the field of tropical medicine, with the participation of authors from multiple countries (Australia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Perú, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, United States of America, Venezuela) and institutions such as: Centro Nacional de Endoscopia CITE, Mayo Clinic, COODESURIS, Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina Pereira, George Washington University, Okayama University, Adelaide University, Universidad de Cartagena, Universidad de Córdoba, Universidad de Lisboa, Universidad de Los Andes, Muhimbili University, Universidad de Porto, Siena University, Twshane University, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Universidad Internacional de la Florida, Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira (UTP), Université Laval, among others.