Simple Vitamin May Be Silver Bullet for Autism

It used to be that “ten fingers and ten toes” was the barometer for whether a baby was born healthy. But the more we learn about autism, the better we understand that babies are often born with difficult, life-altering ailments that are much tougher to see at first glance.

Needless to say, if science could discover a silver bullet for preventing autism, Continue reading

Boost Your Immune System with Zinc

Did you know that more than 300 unique enzymes need zinc to work effectively? Zinc is found in each cell of your body. It is involved directly in nearly every single bodily process that you can think of.

But that’s not all that makes zinc an amazing mineral. Zinc also has the power to boost your immune system in a special way. Continue reading

‘Unhealthy’ Changes in Gut Microbes Benefit Pregnant Women

The composition of microbes in the gut changes dramatically during pregnancy, according to a study published by Cell Press in the August 3rd issue of the journal Cell. Although these changes are associated with metabolic disease under most circumstances, they could be beneficial in pregnant women.

“This is the first in-depth characterization of the gut micro biota associated with pregnancy,” says senior study author Continue reading

A Relaxing Way to Fight Inflammation

Need an excuse to get a massage? A new health breakthrough in the area of natural health news has proven that this alternative therapy could reduce inflammation in the body. Since inflammation is implicated in a wide swath of chronic diseases, it seems that seeing a massage therapist might not be just about stress relief. Continue reading

Flipping a Light Switch in the Cell: Quantum Dots Used for Targeted Neural Activation

New technique holds promise for better understanding of brain disorders

IMAGE: Optically excited quantum dots in close proximity to a cell control the opening of ion channels. Continue reading

Six Ways to Shut Down Tumor Growth

Medical researchers estimate that over 50% of cancers have defective “p53.” So what exactly is p53 and why does it play such a big part in cancer growth? Continue reading

Some Call It the World’s Best Antioxidant — Protecting Your Eyes, Brain, and Preventing Wrinkles

While a member of the carotenoid family, astaxanthin has many unique properties that put it in a class of its own. For example, it cannot function as a pro-oxidant, making it a highly beneficial antioxidant. It’s also unique in that it can protect the entire cell—both the water- and fat-soluble parts—from damage Continue reading

Heal Nerve and Muscle Injuries with a Swim

Have you ever experienced sciatica pain? It usually crops up when you irritate your sciatic nerve. The pain can typically radiate from your lower back, down the back of your thigh. Sometimes the shooting pain can even reach as far as your knees. Prescribed treatments run the gamut from painkillers to surgery. Continue reading

Benefit of Glutathione: The Master Antioxidant

Did You Know…that your body naturally produces a substance which, if present in ample amounts, reverses the aging processdetoxifies the body…and strengthens the body’s immune system? Continue reading

Why Narcoleptics Get Fat

People with narcolepsy are not only excessively sleepy, but they are also prone to gaining weight. In fact, narcoleptic patients will often pack on pounds even as they eat considerably less than your average person.

Now researchers reporting in the October issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, appear to have an answer as to why. It seems a deficiency of the neuropeptide hormone orexin, an ingredient that encourages hunger and wakefulness, may leave them with a lack of energy-burning brown fat.

The findings may lead to orexin-based weight loss therapies for those with narcolepsy Continue reading

Human Model of Rare Genetic Disease Reveals New Clues To Aging Process

Scientists from A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) in Singapore and the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Medicine have produced the world’s first human cell model of progeria, a disease resulting in severe premature aging in one in four to eight million children worldwide. This model has allowed them to make new discoveries concerning the mechanism by which progeria works. Their findings were published this month in the prestigious scientific journal, Cell Stem Cell.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, also known as progeria, is caused by a mutation in the gene encoding for the protein lamin A, an important component of the membrane surrounding a cell’s nucleus. The mutation results in a truncated form of lamin A called progerin, which in turn causes misshapen cell nuclei and DNA damage. Children with progeria suffer symptoms of premature ageing, including growth retardation, baldness, and atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), and all die in their early teens from either heart attack or stroke.

Led by IMB’s Profs Alan Colman and Colin Stewart, the team used a novel technique of deriving induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from cells of human progeria patients. This human progeria model allows the group to trace and analyse the distinctive characteristics of progeria as it progresses in human cells. Previously, only mouse models of the disease were available.

Said Prof Colman, “While mouse models of progeria have been informative, no one mouse model recapitulates all the symptoms seen in humans. Our human progeria model allows us to examine the pathology of the disease at a much closer resolution than previously possible.”

The researchers used their iPS cells to identify two types of cells – mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) – that were particularly adversely affected by progeria. This means that a young patient with progeria would typically have fewer MSCs and VSMCs than other children. MSCs were found to be very sensitive to a low oxygen environment and their losses could delay renewal of the various tissues they gave rise to, thus exacerbating the patient’s symptoms of ageing. The same effect on VSMCs could explain why their number was reduced in the patient’s heart vessels.

The group’s findings are a significant boost to existing research on over 10 diseases associated with lamin gene mutations. Prof Stewart previously led a study in mice at IMB showing that progeria affected the connective tissues, potentially via defects in a signaling pathway connecting the nuclear lamina with the extracellular matrix and which was associated with death of the smooth muscle in major blood vessels.

Said Prof Stewart, “This new study provides further evidence for the role of lamin processing in connective tissue function, as well as insights into the normal ageing process. We hope to soon find new routes of intervention to treat this incurable disease. Such interventions may be of use in treating atherosclerosis in general, a condition afflicting many millions of individuals.”