Tag Archives: greater

Medical breakthrough for multiple sclerosis sufferers

In a breakthrough discovery, researchers have discovered a treatment capable of reducing the debilitating autoimmune response that occurs in people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). When patients are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, their bodies begin to attack the protein myelin, which insulates the body’s spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. As a result, MS patients experience symptoms such as numbness in their limbs, paralysis and sometimes blindness. However, during a phase one clinical trial of a new treatment for MS patients, researchers were able to curtail the body’s attacks on myelin by 50 to 75 percent, while sustaining the functionality of the rest of the immune system. Current treatments for MS seek to lessen the body’s autoimmune response to myelin, but this often results in decreased effectiveness of the entire immune system. “Most therapies for autoimmune diseases employ approaches broadly called immunosuppressors – they knock down immune response without specificity,” study co-author Stephen Miller, professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com.  “People can become highly susceptible to everyday infections and develop higher rates of cancer.” Miller and his colleagues sought a more targeted ‘tolerance’ treatment that would leave the greater immune system intact while knocking out only the autoimmune response to myelin. “In MS, the idea is to target autoreactive T-cells directed against myelin…which would (reduce) disease progression, but wouldn’t make patient susceptible to higher rates of infection,” Miller said. In a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a small group of MS patients were treated intravenously with an infusion of their own white blood cells, which had been engineered to carry billions of myelin antigens. Researchers hoped the cells would teach the body to stop attacking myelin. Miller and his team needed to determine if the treatment, which was based on 30 years of previous research, could be safely applied in humans – and they were pleased to discover it could be. “It was safe to infuse as many as 3 billion autologous cells that we collected and manipulated back into the same patient and didn’t trigger exacerbations,” Miller said. “Most patients didn’t show any increased signs of disease during the six-month follow up.” Furthermore, the treatment did not seem to impede the larger immune system. Researchers tested this by analyzing whether or not each patient continued to retain their immunity to tetanus, for which all of the patients had previously been vaccinated. “Among four patients receiving the highest doses (of autologous cells),  immune response to myelin antigens had diminished or gone away - but tetanus had not gone away,” Miller said. This indicated that the immune system’s ability to fight other diseases after the procedure remained intact. Though researchers caution that the study was too small to draw any significant conclusions, they are optimistic about the outcomes of larger studies and the ability of this treatment to help halt the progress of MS – particularly among recently-diagnosed patients. “The idea is that if we’re able to intervene early enough in disease process, we can stop the autoimmune destruction and (the patient) will have little or no clinical deficit as result of earlier attacks before being diagnosed,” Miller said. Researchers hope to receive funding to begin a phase two trial soon.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/06/medical-breakthrough-for-multiple-sclerosis-sufferers/

Frequent heartburn may predict cancers of the throat and vocal cord

"Previous studies examining gastric reflux and cancers of the head and neck have generated mixed results," said Scott M. Langevin, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow at Brown University in Providence, R.I. "Most of those studies had either few numbers of cases or they were not adjusted for confounding factors…

Is popcorn giving you heart disease?

Oh, great. Just when you were starting to get a handle on your BPA exposure, scientists uncover a new one you should worry about.  It’s called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—a chemical found in things like nonstick cookware, food wrappers, furniture, and even raincoats—and it’s been linked to cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.  The kicker? A full 98 percent of us have PFOA in our bloodstreams. (Protect your body’s most important muscle with these tips to Strengthen Your Heart in 30 Days.) Researchers from West Virginia University (WVU) School of Public Health, Morgantown, looked at the health data of 1,200 Americans and compared their PFOA serum levels with the incidence of heart disease. The results: The greater the amounts of PFOA in the bloodstream, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease—regardless of factors like age, race, smoking, BMI, diabetes, and even hypertension. While previous research has linked PFOA to cardiovascular disease in animals, this is the first to look at PFOA’s heart effect on humans. Scary? You bet. But more research needs to be done to determine the specific relationship between PFOA and cardiovascular disease.  “We can’t yet be certain that PFOA causes heart disease,” says lead study author Dr. Anoop Shankar, chair of the department of epidemiology in the WVU School of Public Health. “The two could be related in another way, like people with cardiovascular disease tending to retain more PFOA in their blood.” (Minimize your exposure to harsh chemicals with these 19 Bizarre Home Remedies That Really Work.) Still, PFOA’s track record isn’t exactly reassuring. Health watchdogs like the Environmental Working Group—which annually puts out the Dirty Dozen Foods You Should Eat Organic—cite research that suggests PFOA may be a human carcinogen, and previous research has linked the chemical to chronic kidney disease and high cholesterol in children and adolescents. It’s also a significant source of global chemical emissions—so much so that the EPA partnered with major manufacturers like DuPont and 3M to form the 2010/2015 PFOA Stewardship Program, which plans to eliminate PFOAs from the manufacturers’ products by 2015.   Until then, you can minimize your exposure to the chemical by steering clear of two of the biggest sources: nonstick cookware and packaged foods like microwave popcorn. According to the FDA, many popcorn bags contain especially high levels of PFOAs. (Popcorn addict

Discovery helps show how breast cancer spreads

It has long been known that women with denser breasts are at higher risk for breast cancer. This greater density is caused by an excess of a structural protein called collagen. "We have shown how increased collagen in the breasts could increase the chances of breast tumors spreading and becoming more invasive," says Gregory D. …