top of page

HealthNews RoundUp - 4th Week of May 2021



Medicine of The Future 4th Week May 2021



Today’s medical discoveries that point to future therapy.

#Trojanhorse Virus Triggers #Cancer Suicide

#Immunotherapy Aids #PostStroke #Rehab

Enzyme Therapy Stops #Dental #Plaque

#AcidSensing #Bacteria Herald Inflammatory Bowel Disease #IBD

#Microneedle Patch Treats #Skin Infections

3D #Bioprinted #Multiilayer Body Parts


Biochemists at the University of Zurich and CalTech have developed a technique that uses an adenovirus vector similar to that used by the J&J and AstraZeneca CoVid vaccines to convey a self-destructive gene into cancer cells.  Called SHREAD gene therapy, the inserted gene tricks the cancer into producing toxic antibodies that kill it while leaving normal cells untouched.  Its as if cancer-killing drugs are injected into individual cancer cells.


University of Pittsburgh neurologists find that T lymphocytes known as Treg cells play a key role in post-stroke brain healing.  Even better, they use an antigen-antibody complex called IL-2:IL-2Ab that stimulates production of these Treg cells in the brain following a stroke to improve brain function faster and more completely.  It all works in mice, but hopefully, some time soon, it will as well in humans.


Dental plaque in kids forms when bacteria and fungi combine into a sticky mucoid film called biofilms.  Now University of Pennsylvania dentists report that particular enzymes can dissolve and bacterial-fungal bonds, the resultant biofilms, and prevent the formation of damaging plaque.  This enzymatic therapy won’t harm human tissues, and will prevent both tooth decay and gum disease.


Rice University bioengineers developed an otherwise harmless E. coli bacterium that glows or changes colors when it encounters gut acid.  Meanwhile, University of Colorado gastroenterologists show that excess gastrointestinal acid accompanies flare ups of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis and the excess acid likely turns on the genes that trigger inflammation. Combine these findings by adding this acid-sensing, color changing E. Coli in food, and it could discolor toilet water as a sign that a bout of impending bowel inflammation requires proactive therapy.


Nasty skin infections such as those due to methicillin-resistant staph aureus or MRSA usually require intravenous injection of strong antibiotics like vancomycin that have even nastier side effects.  Swedish microbiologists have developed an skin patch composed of vancomycin-impregnated micro-needle arrays that can deliver high concentrations of antibiotic directly to the infected skin without overdosing the entire body.


When traumatic injuries leave gaping holes in the head and face, skin and bone replacements are necessary.  Penn State biomedical engineers have developed complex extrusion and droplet 3D bioprinting techniques using cell and carrier material mixtures in order to print composites of bone and overlying soft tissues at the same time.


These and other cutting edge solutions are coming to your doctor’s office and our hospitals…….some day soon!





Computer-read EKGs Reveal Your Biologic Age



When your EKG is interpreted using artificial intelligence, you may find out that your body is years younger or older than your birthday tally would predict.  Cardiologists at the Mayo Clinic draw this conclusion using a convolutional neural network to help read EKGs from 25,144 subjects.


Those with a predicted age 7 to 14 years older, had a 94% higher risk of cardiac death and those with a gap of 14 years or more had triple the risk of death.  Those predicted to be more than 7 years younger had a 78% lower risk of cardiac death.


Control your fate with regular exercise that is the true fountain of youth.


#age #ekg #ai #mortality

age, ekg, ai,  mortality




Mindfulness Reduces Dementia Risk



Higher levels of practiced mindfulness were associated with less intellectual decline and reduced depositions of degenerative proteins in the brain.  Canadian neuroscientists report these finding from their study of 261 older adults undergoing cognitive testing and brain imaging.


Those practicing mindfulness regularly scored best consistently on problem-solving tests with little deterioration over time.  They also showed reduced deposits of alpha-beta and tau-amyloid degenerative proteins on PET brain scans.


This study confirms the positive effects of mindfulness on brain function and demonstrates that those who actively exercise their brains are spared many age-related degenerative changes.  Keeping your brain focused yet untethered may well help prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementia.


#mindfulness #dementia #amyloid #alzheimers

mindfulness, dementia, amyloid, alzheimers



Your Health Records Belong To You



Everyone in every state now has the right to access their medical records and those of their children.  On April 5th, 2021, a federal rule became operative and it guarantees you immediate electronic access via your computer or smartphone to your doctors’ notes as well as lab and imaging test results.


Your legal right to the information isn’t new, but healthcare offices and networks have often made it costly charging per page fees and difficult by only providing paper storms.  Many providers were already providing such access, but now everyone must.


Raw information without context may be confusing and terrifying.  Knowing their patients will be receiving results directly, providers should communicate earlier.


#patients #portals #healthinformation 

patients, portals, healthinformation



Icing Sports Injuries Slows Healing



The time-honored recommendation to put ice packs on injured extremities now comes under question with the publication of a Japanese study.  Using a mouse model, Kobe University researchers show that cold unduly delays muscle regeneration following contraction trauma that mimics a muscle tear.


Slower healing of cold tissues occurs since low temperatures impede the migration and function of pro-inflammatory macrophages.  These scavenger cells must clean up and dispose of damaged muscle before healing may commence.  After they do, they also prevent excess inflammation.


The old adage recommending RICE, that is rest, ice, compression, and elevation, may require updating and the omission of ice.  The other components continue to be helpful.


#sports #injury #rice #icing #macrophages

sports, injury, injury, icing, macrophages



Premie Boys Age Faster



Boys born prematurely and weighing less than one kilogram age faster than normal.  Canadian researchers draw this conclusion from their study comparing the adult cells from 45 with extremely low birth weights with those of 49 normal birth weight controls.


Calculating cellular age using a DNA methylation assay of adult cheek cells, the low birth weight men were older than normal men by 4.8 years.  They were 2.7 years older than low birth weight women.


Premature birth with an extremely low birth weight is associated with accelerated male aging.  Whatever the cause of this aging, these boys and men deserve careful monitoring and health surveillance throughout life.


#premies #boys #lowbirthweight #aging

premies, boys, lowbirthweight, aging



Ultrasonic Nerve Destruction Treats Drug-Resistant Hypertension



Zapping nerves entering the kidneys with pulsed ultrasound can significantly lower elevated blood pressures in those who fail traditional drug therapy with a triple combination medication.  An international, multi-center study headed by Columbia University researchers enrolled 136 patients, and 69 of them underwent ultrasound renal denervation with the 67 controls undergoing sham procedures.


The ultrasound treated group enjoyed a significant 5.8 mmHg blood pressure reduction compared with the controls.  There were no significant complications from the procedure.


Larger clinical trials will be needed to confirm the safely and effectiveness of ultrasound renal nerve ablation.  If proven effective, ultrasound will be added to radiofrequency energy as a means of renal nerve ablation.


#hypertension #ultrasound #renalnerve

hypertension, ultrasound, renalnerve



Alcoholic Drinks Trigger Atrial Fibrillation



Just one glass of wine, beer, or a cocktail doubles the chances of an atrial fibrillation episode sometime during the following 4 hours.  Cardiologists at UC-San Francisco report this finding following their study of 100 patients with intermittent bouts of atrial fibrillation.


Each participant was fitted with a wearable cardiac monitor and a data box that clocked their self-reported alcohol consumption.  The accuracy of the self-reporting was testing using finger-stick blood alcohol level determinations.


Two or more drinks in one sitting tripled the risk of afib.  For every 0.1% increase in blood alcohol levels there was about a 40% increased risk of an afib episode.


#alcohol #atrialfibrillation

alcohol, atrialfibrillation



Moderna Vaccine Works In Teens



Two doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine prevent 100% of CoVid infections in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age.  The company just announced the results of its phase 1-2 study in preparation for submission to the FDA in June seeking an Emergency Use Authorization.


A total of 3,732 teens were randomized 2 to 1 to receive the vaccine.  CoVid infection prevention efficiency was 93% two or more weeks after even the first dose.  The side effects of the vaccine were mild to moderate in severity and comparable to those seen in adults.


Moderna and Pfizer are both conducting vaccine trials with infants, toddlers, and younger children using a range of test doses.


#moderna #CoVid #vaccine #teens #adolescents

moderna, CoVid, vaccine, teens, adolescents

bottom of page