Stem stell advance voted scientific discovery of 2008


London: A new advance in harvesting stem cells from adults which has the potential to cure many of the diseases of ageing, has been hailed as the scientific discovery of the year.

The advance, which involves turning back the clock on adult tissue and “reprogramming” it with the properties of stem cells, could lead to new treatments for diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes.

The process allows for a potentially limitless numbers of “induced pluripotent stem” (IPS) cells to be made to order from a sick patient’s cells, meaning they do not risk rejection from the immune system when transplanted.

The technique does not require stem calls to be harvested from embryos, making it more acceptable to religious groups.

Dr Robert Coontz of the journal Science, which placed cellular reprogramming top of its list of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of 2008, said it “opened a new field of biology almost overnight and holds out hope of life-saving medical advances”.

Three teams working in Japan and the United States made major advances with the technique over the last 12 months.

“When Science’s writers and editors set out to pick this year’s biggest advances, we looked for research that answers major questions about how the universe works and that paves the way for future discoveries,” Dr Coontz said.

Runner-up was the first direct observation of planets in distant star systems, which required complex measures to blot out the light from their parent stars.

Other advances on the list included improved technology to map the genome – the human genetic code – and new calculations of the weight of the world.

Science’s Top 10 breakthroughs of 2008

1) Cellular reprogramming

2) Observation of planets around stars

3) Insights into “good” fat

4) Expanding the catalogue of cancer genes

5) Most detailed video of a developing embryo

6) Faster, cheaper genome sequencing

7) Watching proteins at work

8) Industrial-scale energy storage

9) High-temperature superconductors

10) Calculating the weight of the world

The Clinic of Cybernetic Medicine Moscow

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“We treat the whole person – not just their illnesses” – Alexander Avshalumov, Founder and Director

This clinic specialises in the treatment – investigating the body as a whole – of many illnesses including:

• Diabetes
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Neuroses and depression
• Hepatitis including “C”
• Breast disease and endometriosis
• Erectile disfunction
• Migraine, dizziness and headaches of uncertain origin
• Psoriasis and eczema
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• Acute and chronic lung disease
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• Thyroid gland disorders
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• Disorders of the pancreas and intestines
• Selected oncology
• Chronic fatigue syndrome such as ME
• Obesity
• Complex symptoms of ill-health without clear diagnostics

In its approach to illness the clinic looks at the whole body and organ function in a series of comprehensive tests. These include “The Gold Standard” which includes 15 different types of diagnositics. Most of them are non-invasive: all are totally safe. The whole process takes only three to five hours – the result: a unique protrait of a person’s state of health, from the micro the macro, from the level of cellular metabolism and each individual body organ, to the working of the body as a coordinated, well-managed entity. The process is unique to this Moscow clinic.

The Gold Standard leads to an individually-designed programme of treatment which treats the body as a whole, restoring proper management and fuction.

The results to date are clear. A wide range of illnesses have ben successfully treated and chronic conditions and symptoms may be quickly and safely alleviated in our out-patients clinic in Moscow.

The Clinic of Cybernetic Medicine uses the latest US and Russian equipment including cardio vision equipment, cellular metabolism diagnostics, radio thermometry and magnetic tornado therapy amongst others.

Stem cells found in male testicles

New York: United States researchers have come up with a novel use for men’s testicles, which they say are a rich source of stem cells and so could be transformed into a wide range of tissue types to help fight disease.

The scientists say they have managed to isolate stem cells from the testes of male
mice, extract them and reprogram them into blood vessels, heart cells and tissue.

If the results are reproduced in humans, the technology could help get around the ethical concerns associated with the use of embryonic stem cells and could be used to help treat Parkinson’s, heart disease, strokes and cancer.

Shahin Rafii from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York whose research has been pubished in the journal Nature said: “Testes are designed to generate a lot of sperm and they have these germ cells.

“So germ cells are designed also in a way to give us two different tissues as well so we were able to get a germ cell from testes and instruct them to become other tissues.”

So it is a possible breakthrough, albeit somewhere down the track, for men. But Dr Rafii says women need not give up hope.

“In women also this stem cell exists but the number is very, very low and we hope that eventually we can be able to get these stem cells from their ovaries as well,” he said.

“Also another point – some men can give stem cells to compatible, genetically compatible females so it still can be applied for women as well.”

Coenzyme claims not supported by medical evidence, says Mayo Clinic

New York: A new study by the Mayo Clinic says that most of the health claims for Coenzyme Q10, a supplement that may be helpful in many of the diseases of ageing, are not suported by scientific evidence.

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like compound found in the energy-producing centre of each cell in the body and helps energise cells. It is thought to protect from disease but declines with age.

But according to the November issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, scientific evidence doesn’t support most of the health claims. So far, it’s not known if low coenzyme Q10 levels cause disease or if taking supplements can prevent or treat disease. Of the many coenzyme Q10 studies, most have been small. Many have not been “controlled,” where some participants take a placebo.

However, some coenzyme Q10 studies appear to have scientific merit. There has been some evidence of benefit for people with Parkinson’s disease, migraine and high blood pressure, but more studies are needed. So far, there’s not enough evidence to make medical recommendations.

Pesticides linked to Parkinson’s disease in new study

New York: A second scientific study has linked agricultural pesticides to a series of conditions that cause cause brain damage including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, according to scientists.

The study carried out by the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of Dakota says that chemicals routinely used by farmers around the world can result in diseases of the neurological system.

The study which was funded by the US Department of Health, tested rats and revealed damage to the brain and to the gastrointestinal system. The research team is now evaluating how humans are exposed to pesticides in order to establish what measures are needed to minimise any adverse effects.

It is concentrating on the effect of pesticide spraying, rather than consumption of fruit and vegetables.

In a EERC statement said: “During the first year of research, laboratory testing on rats demonstrated that the areas of the brain showing change following pesticide exposure are the same areas involved in multiple sclerosis.

‘Results also show pesticide exposure damages the same brain areas linked to epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Pesticides can also cause severe damage to the gastrointestprovideinal system and cause neurological dysfunction.’

Director Dr Gerald Groenewold said: ‘The results of this study are phenomenally relevant to our region and have global implications.’

He added: ‘One of the most efficient routes that people are exposed to pesticides is through airborne particles, including pesticides carried on tiny bits of pollen. Within the next few years, this EERC-led partnership will be able to objective answers to globally critical questions related to the potential relationship between pesticides and the incidence of neurological diseases.’

Research by a team from Harvard School of Public Health in June reached similar findings.

It found that respondents who were in contact with pesticides in 1992 were 70 per cent more likely to develop Parkinson’s within the next ten years.

‘We have been highlighting for years the significance of exposure to airborne pesticides.

‘There has never been an adequate exposure assessment in the UK or the EU for the long-term exposure of people who live near regularly sprayed fields.’

Scientists discover link between sleep and Parkinson’s

Washington: People who sleep longer are more at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new US study.

Scientists at the National Institute of Health tracked the health of 80,000 fe,a;e nurses over a a 24 year period and discovered that those who sleep at least nine hours a night are almost twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease as those who get by on six hours or less. The study also showed that working night shifts may help prevent the disease.

All those tracked were free of Parkinson’s at the start of the study. They were asked about their sleep, smoking and dietary habits and weighed. By the end of the study, 181 had developed Parkinson’s.

The results which revealed a link between the length of sleep and a heightened risk of Parkinson’s are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

People who slept more than nine hours were more at risk and 80% more likely to have the condition than those who slept six hours or less. Sleeping eight hours equated to a 60 per cent chance of Parkinson’s and seven hours 10 per cent.
Sleeping longer and working night shifts reduced the risk.

Previous studies have shown that night-shift workers have lower levels of the hormones melatonin and oestradiol. At higher levels, they may contribute towards the development of Parkinson’s.

Lead researcher Dr Honglei Chen, admitted that the results were puzzling and that further research was required to examine the results.

Pesticides and weedkillers risk factor in Parkinson’s

New York: Plant pesticides and weedkillers more than doubles the risk increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease in later life, new research has revealed.

In the US study, partly founded by the Michael J Fox Foundation, scientists examined statistics on more than 140,000 men and women, Of the total, exposure to pesticides was reported by 7,864 participants, while there were 413 cases of Parkinson’s.

Taking into account age, sex and other factors such as diet and exercise, the researchers concluded that individuals who reported exposure to pesticides had a 70 per cent higher incidence of the disease than those who did not. The research is published in the Annals of Neurology.

While farmers were more likely to have been exposed, the development of Parkinson’s was equally prevalent among other workers.

Potential sources include crop spraying, weedkillers, pesticides and insecticides used in the garden and fly sprays and ant powders used in the home.

The researchers said they did not find any link between the amount of time the men and women had been exposed to the chemicals and the risk of Parkinson’s. Nor was there any increased risk from exposure to other occupational hazards, including asbestos, coal or stone dust, chemicals, acids or solvents.

They concluded that the hypothosis that exposure to pesticides is a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease.

Actor Fox was diagnosed with the disease in 1991 at the peak of his Hollywood success. He established the foundation to fund research into the disease

No specific chemicals or pesticides were named in the study and the researchers said more work was needed to examine which are likely to cause the condition.