Category Archives for "Good Latest Research"

Is Vision More Sensitive During Exercise?

Psychologists design an experiment to investigate whether human vision is more sensitive during physical activity.

It’s universally accepted that the benefits of exercise go well beyond fitness, from reducing the risk of disease to improving sleep and enhancing mood. Physical activity gives cognitive function a boost as well as fortifying memory and safeguarding thinking skills.

But can it enhance your vision? It appears so.

Intrigued by recent findings that neuron firing rates in the regions of mouse and fly brains associated with visual processing increase during physical activity, UC Santa Barbara psychologists Barry Giesbrecht and Tom Bullock wanted to know if the same might be true for the human brain.

To find out, they designed an experiment using behavioral measures and neuroimaging techniques to explore the ways in which brief bouts of physical exercise impact human performance and underlying neural activity. The researchers found that low-intensity exercise boosted activation in the visual cortex, the part of the cerebral cortex that plays an important role in processing visual information. Their results appear in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

“We show that the increased activation — what we call arousal — changes how information is represented, and it’s much more selective,” said co-author Giesbrecht, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “That’s important to understand because how that information then gets used could potentially be different.

“There’s an interesting cross-species link that shows these effects of arousal might have similar consequences for how visual information is processed,” he continued. “That implies the evolution of something that might provide a competitive advantage in some way.”

To investigate how exercise affects different aspects of cognitive function, the investigators enlisted 18 volunteers. Each of them wore a wireless heart rate monitor and an EEG (electroencephalogram) cap containing 64 scalp electrodes. While on a stationary bicycle, participants performed a simple orientation discrimination task using high-contrast stimuli composed of alternating black and white bars presented at one of nine spatial orientations. The tasks were performed while at rest and during bouts of both low- and high-intensity exercise.

The scientists then fed the recorded brain data into a computational model that allowed them to estimate the responses of the neurons in the visual cortex activated by the visual stimuli. They analyzed the responses while participants were at rest and then during low- and high-intensity exercise.

This approach allowed them to reconstruct what large populations of neurons in the visual cortex were doing in relation to each of the different stimulus orientations. The researchers were able to generate a “tuning curve,” which estimates how well the neurons are representing the different stimulus orientations.

Image shows a man on an exercise bike.
Participants rode stationary bikes while wearing a wireless heart rate monitor and an EEG cap. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to UCSB.
“We found that the peak response is enhanced during low-intensity exercise relative to rest and high-intensity exercise,” said lead author Bullock, a postdoctoral researcher in UCSB’s Attention Lab. “We also found that the curve narrows in, which suggests a reduction in bandwidth. Together, the increased gain and reduced bandwidth suggest that these neurons are becoming more sensitive to the stimuli presented during the low-intensity exercise condition relative to the other conditions.”

Giesbrecht noted that they don’t know the mechanism by which this is occurring. “There are some hints that it may be driven by specific neurotransmitters that increase global cortical excitability and that can account for the change in the gain and the increase in the peak response of these tuning profiles,” he said.

From a broader perspective, this work underscores the importance of exercise. “In fact, the benefits of brief bouts of exercise might provide a better and more tractable way to influence information processing — versus, say, brain training games or meditation — and in a way that’s not tied to a particular task,” Giesbrecht concluded.

Source: http://neurosciencenews.com

breath test could save lives by diagnosing deadly cancers early

Deadly Cancers Diagnosed Earlier With Breath Test Could Save Lives

 

A simple breath test could save lives by diagnosing deadly cancers early.

British research shows the breathalyzer is 85 per cent accurate at identifying stomach and esophageal cancers, which between them affect 16,000 men and women a year. Both types of cancer are often diagnosed late, leading to poor survival rates. Scientists hope the new breath test will ultimately lead to cancers being spotted earlier, resulting in more effective treatment and saved lives.It is also expected to help doctors avoid unnecessary endoscopy examinations – unpleasant diagnostic procedures that require a flexible telescope to be inserted down the throat and into the stomach. 

The procedure is expensive and can be uncomfortable. Once diagnosed, around 85 per cent of sufferers die within five years. By the time symptoms appear, the disease is often in later stages.But scientists believe the new tests, which measures five different chemicals in each breath, could make it simpler to screen patients earlier. The chemicals give vital clues on whether someone has cancer or a less serious gastric condition. 

Dr Sheraz Markar, one of the trial researchers from Imperial College London, said: “At present the only way to diagnose esophageal cancer or stomach cancer is with endoscopy. This method is expensive, invasive and has some risk of complications.”A breath test could be used as a , first-line test to reduce the number of unnecessary endoscopes. In the longer term this could also mean earlier diagnosis and treatment, and better survival.”

Each year in the UK around 6,682 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer and 4,576 die from the disease.There are 8,919 cases of esophageal cancer, affecting the food pipe or gullet, with 7,790 deaths.For the new study breath samples were collected from 335 patients at three London hospitals. Of these, 163 had been diagnosed with esophageal or stomach cancer while 172 were shown to be cancer-free after undergoing endoscopy tests.

SOURCE…www.telegraph.co.uk

Scientists Want To Bring Back Extinct Caspian Tiger

Science to the rescue 

Now I know A lot of us have seen the  iconic blockbuster movie  “Jurassic Park”. You know? The movie where these scientist extract  the DNA from an ancient gigantic dinosaur from a mosquito trapped in the 65 million year old fossilized tree sap ? Well  scientists are trying to recreate the same thing with attempting to bring back  the  Caspian tiger. Which was once  one of the world’s largest tigers…

Caspian tigers

Until recently, the tigers roamed Central Asia, from the Caspian Sea to north-west China, before struggles that included loss of habitat robbed them of their prey.Ever since Caspian tigers disappeared, biologists and conservationists have tried to come up with a strategy to bring tigers back to Central Asia. It’s not clear exactly when the Caspian tiger died out. Some reports suggest it was last seen in the 1950s, while others date its extinction to the 1970s. Another tiger subspecies known as the Amur tiger is genetically very similar to the Caspian tiger and could potentially survive in Central Asia.

The Future 

Between 2010 and 2012, scientists conducted studies that showed that Caspian and Amur tigers were almost identical in their genetic structure. Scientists now want to reintroduce tigers in Central Asia using Amur tigers from the Russian Far East.  Researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and State University of New York (SUNY) say they have found two spots in Kazakhstan to reintroduce the extinct enormous cat. Experts have been discussing the plans for nearly 10 years. Scientists say the project has some major hurdles before it could be undertaken.The potential tiger habitat needs to be protected. The species would also need hooved-animals to prey upon and numbers of these in the area are still low. This is predicted to take at least 15 years.

 

SOURCE…www.bbc.co.uk

The New Black Plague…. "Electronic Screen Syndrome".

 The new black plague “Electronic  Screen Syndrome” Studies have also shown that using computers, smartphones or tablets before bedtime disrupts sleep.Sir Anthony Seldon the Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and former master of Wellington College said screen time was a ‘very significant concern’.“Intelligent use of computers can enhance the life of teenagers but overall they are spending vastly too much time online,” he added.“Real people, real exercise, real environments and above all real relationships in the flesh are what young people need to develop into healthy adults.“I’m extremely worried by the extensive and indiscriminate exposure of adolescents to computers. It should be a very significant concern.”

The researchers of the new study agreed that electronic devices could be harmful if youngsters were using them to avoid exercise, sleep or avoid making friends. But they also said they could actually be beneficial for development.Co-author Dr Netta Weinstein of Cardiff University said: “To the extent that digital activities either enrich teenagers’ lives or displace more rewarding activities, they should have either positive or negative effects on their mental well-being.

“There have been theories that digital use is disrupting more satisfying pursuits. However, the role of digital technology has a central role in everyday life and online gaming is now a shared way of playing for teenage boys.“There is good reason to think digital technology used in moderation is not disruptive and may even support development.’

Commenting on the research, Dr Pete Etchells, senior lecturer in Biological Psychology, Bath Spa University, said: “The study shows that certain levels of technology use may actually be beneficial to children.”Where negative effects do exist, these are in fact quite weak, compared to other factors such as getting a decent night’s sleep which have previously been shown to have an influence on well-being. “Taken altogether then, the study shows that we need to drastically reconsider the way we think about screen time – there is an alarming  negative correlation between using digital technology and well being.

 

 

SOURCE…www.telegraph.co.uk

The New Black Plague…. “Electronic Screen Syndrome”.

 The new black plague “Electronic  Screen Syndrome” Studies have also shown that using computers, smartphones or tablets before bedtime disrupts sleep.Sir Anthony Seldon the Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and former master of Wellington College said screen time was a ‘very significant concern’.“Intelligent use of computers can enhance the life of teenagers but overall they are spending vastly too much time online,” he added.“Real people, real exercise, real environments and above all real relationships in the flesh are what young people need to develop into healthy adults.“I’m extremely worried by the extensive and indiscriminate exposure of adolescents to computers. It should be a very significant concern.”

The researchers of the new study agreed that electronic devices could be harmful if youngsters were using them to avoid exercise, sleep or avoid making friends. But they also said they could actually be beneficial for development.Co-author Dr Netta Weinstein of Cardiff University said: “To the extent that digital activities either enrich teenagers’ lives or displace more rewarding activities, they should have either positive or negative effects on their mental well-being.

“There have been theories that digital use is disrupting more satisfying pursuits. However, the role of digital technology has a central role in everyday life and online gaming is now a shared way of playing for teenage boys.“There is good reason to think digital technology used in moderation is not disruptive and may even support development.’

Commenting on the research, Dr Pete Etchells, senior lecturer in Biological Psychology, Bath Spa University, said: “The study shows that certain levels of technology use may actually be beneficial to children.”Where negative effects do exist, these are in fact quite weak, compared to other factors such as getting a decent night’s sleep which have previously been shown to have an influence on well-being. “Taken altogether then, the study shows that we need to drastically reconsider the way we think about screen time – there is an alarming  negative correlation between using digital technology and well being.

 

 

SOURCE…www.telegraph.co.uk

CELLS DRIPPED INTO THE BRAIN HELP MAN FIGHT A DEADLY CANCER

 

A man with deadly brain cancer that had spread to his spine saw his tumors shrink and, for a time, completely vanish after a novel treatment to help his immune system attack his disease – another first in this promising field.The type of immunotherapy that 50-year-old Richard Grady received already has helped some people with blood cancers such as leukemia. But the way he was given it is new, and may allow its use not just for brain tumors but also other cancers that can spread, such as breast and lung.

Grady was the first person to get the treatment dripped through a tube into a space in the brain where spinal fluid is made, sending it down the path the cancer traveled to his spine.He had “a remarkable response” that opens the door to wider testing, said Dr. Behnam Badie, neurosurgery chief at City of Hope, a cancer center in Duarte, California, where Grady was treated.The case is reported in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.Each year in the United States, about 20,000 people are diagnosed with a type of brain tumor called glioblastoma. Grady, who lives in Seattle, had the usual surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but the cancer came back.He enrolled in a clinical trial at City of Hope and had some of his own blood cells, called T cells, removed and genetically modified in the lab to turn them into specialized soldiers to seek and destroy cancer.

The treatment, called CAR-T cell therapy, has been used for blood cancers, but its value for solid tumors is unknown. City of Hope has been testing injecting the cells directly into the brain.First, Grady had more surgery to remove three of his largest tumors. Then he got six weekly infusions of the cells through a tube into his brain, where the biggest one had been. No cancer recurred there, but the remaining tumors continued to grow, new ones appeared, and cancer spread to his spine.

Doctors decided on a bold step: placing a second tube in his brain, into a cavity where spinal fluid is made, and putting the cells there.”The idea was to have the flow of the spinal fluid carry the T cells to different locations,” along the route the cancer had taken, Badie said.After three treatments, all tumors had shrunk dramatically. After the 10th treatment, “we saw all the tumors disappear,” and Grady was able to cut back on other medicines and return to work, Badie said.

New tumors, though, have now emerged in different spots in his brain and spine, and he is getting radiation treatment. But his response to immunotherapy lasted more than seven months, and “for him to live more than a year and half” after starting it is amazing for a situation where survival often is measured in weeks, Badie said.Side effects of the treatment were manageable, including headaches, fatigue and muscle aches, and some may have been due to other medicines Grady needed, doctors reported.

It’s early research, but it’s an advance for the field “that they showed this is safe, at least in this patient,” said Dr. Donald O’Rourke, a neurosurgeon heading a similar study at the University of Pennsylvania.O’Rourke treated 10 brain tumor patients with CAR-T cells but used a single IV dose. A paper detailing results is in the works, but “it’s pretty striking what we’ve found,” he said.At City of Hope, nine patients have been treated so far, but only three with infusions into the spinal fluid brain cavity. Two of the nine have not responded to treatment, Badie said.

His study is supported by the nonprofit Gateway for Cancer Research, the Food and Drug Administration, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Some authors get royalties from pending patents or money from Mustang Bio, Inc., which has licensed some of the technology.

 

SOURCE…www.hosted.ap.org

Breathalyser can detect 17 diseases

As far back as 400 BC, Hippocrates advised his students to smell their patients’ breath to detect if they were ill.Now, researchers in America have invented a system which does just that, only rather more scientifically.  A new analyzer uses nano-rays to determine the precise chemical composition of a person’s breath.From that it is able to detect the “signature” of any of 17 serious diseases, from kidney cancer to Parkinson’s disease.Exhaled breath contains nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen, as well as small amounts of more than 100 other chemicals, but the relative amount of each substance varies depending on a person’s state of health.Writing in the journal ACS Nano, scientists describe how they analysed the results with artificial intelligence techniques to classify and diagnose the conditions.They found that each disease produces a unique volatile chemical breath print, based on differing amounts of 13 components.They also showed that the presence of one disease would not prevent the detection of others.The technology allows for an inexpensive and portable breathalyzer-style device, which costs as little as £24 and is able to screen for various diseases in a non-invasive way.Lead author Professor Hossam Haick, said: “We found that just as we each have a unique fingerprint, each of the diseases we studied has an unique breath print, a ‘signature’ of chemical components.”We have a device which can discriminate between them, which is elegant and affordable.”In recent years, scientists have developed experimental breath analyzers, but most of these instruments focus on a single type of disease, such as cancer.

SOURCE..www.telegraph.co.uk

 

Dutch scientists Develop Artificial Leaf To Manufacture Medicine

Dutch scientists have developed an artificial leaf that can act as a mini-factory for producing drugs, an advance that could allow medicines to be produced anywhere there is sunlight.The work taps into the ability of plants to use sunlight to feed themselves through photosynthesis, something industrial chemists have struggled to replicate because sunshine usually generates too little energy to fuel chemical reactions.

The leaf-inspired micro factory mimics nature’s efficiency at harvesting solar radiation by using new materials called luminescent solar concentrators with very thin channels through which liquid is pumped, exposing molecules to sunlight.

 “Theoretically, you could use this device to make drug compounds with solar energy anywhere you want,” said lead researcher Timothy Noel at Eindhoven University of Technology.By doing away with the need for a power grid, it may be possible one day to make malaria drugs in the jungle or even medicines on Mars in some future space colony, he believes.The device, made from silicone rubber, can operate even when there is diffuse light, which means it will work under cloudy skies. However, there is still a way to go to scale up the process to make it commercially viable.

Noel and his colleagues, who published their research in the science journal Angewandte Chemie on Wednesday, are now trying to improve energy efficiency further and increase output.Because the artificial leaf relies on micro-channels to bring chemicals into direct contact with sunlight, each unit needs to be small — but they could be easily linked together to increase production.

“You can make a whole tree with many, many different leaves placed in parallel,” Noel told Reuters. “These are very cheap things to make, so there is a lot of potential.”He thinks the process could start to become broadly available to chemical engineers within five to 10 years.It is not the first time that scientists have drawn inspiration from plants when considering novel ways to manufacture pharmaceuticals.

In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug called Elelyso from Pfizer and Protalix Biotherapeutics for Gaucher disease, a rare genetic condition, made with genetically modified carrot cells.Other researchers are also cultivating crops that have been specially bred to produce useful medicines and vaccines in their leaves.

SOURCE…www.stltoday.com

Down With Corporate Corruption In Our Food Supply

 

Mention Monsanto these days and you are sure to get a reaction from almost anyone. The American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation is making headlines worldwide—and usually not the good kind.This time, the behemoth biotech, widely known for its controversial genetically modified crop seeds (GMOs) and highly poisonous pesticides, is accused of contaminating an entire small town in Alabama.Anniston, Alabama, home to 22,666 people, is considered a crime scene by health officials, who contend Monsanto is solely responsible for what is being called the worst PCB contamination the world has ever seen.

Over A Century Of Destruction

Monsanto was founded in 1901 by John F. Queeny and his wife, Olga Monsanto Queeny, who launched the company with their first product, the artificial sweetener saccharine, now known as a one of the Top 4 most dangerous artificial sweeteners ever made (1).

From there, Monsanto has left a trail of destruction that includes poisoning countless towns, lands, waterways and entire ecosystems. The company also supplied the materials for some of the deadliest chemical weapons ever made, including white phosphorous (2) and Agent Orange (3), which have killed thousands of people worldwide.

The unbelievable and devastating repercussions of what many call Monsanto’s unscrupulous practices in the manufacturing and sale of their products includes everything from purposely withholding negative safety studies from the FDA and the public, to knowingly manufacturing and selling poisonous herbicides and pesticides that have resulted in serious health issues for both humans and wildlife, and even death.

In 1986, Monsanto was found guilty of “negligently exposing a worker to benzene at its Chocolate Bayou Plant in Texas.” It paid $100 million to the family of Wilbur Jack Skeen, who died of leukemia after repeated exposures (4).The list of Monsanto’s crimes is endless and ongoing, including the contamination of the entire town of Anniston, Alabama that actually began in the 1940s.

Anniston Alabama: Monsanto’s Toxic Town

At first glance, Anniston Alabama is an idyllic small town with pristine waters and genuine southern hospitality. But what lies beneath the ground and the raging waters of its white-water river, is something out of a sci-fi horror flick.

In 1993, a local fisherman who caught a severely deformed largemouth bass from the Choccolocco Creek set off a firestorm of media that eventually led to an inconvenient truth for the billion dollar biotech corporation. As it turns out, Monsanto had been knowingly poisoning the people and wildlife of Anniston, Alabama for more than 30 years.

By dumping millions of pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the town’s landfill and creek, Monsanto exposed the community to the deadly chemicals that have since been banned because of their known link to cancer in both animals and humans, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a deadly form of the disease(5,6).

The toxic contamination in the small town was so incredible that Monsanto actually bought and then demolished 100 homes that were overwhelmingly polluted by PCBs. After 16-year-old Anniston resident Terry Baker died from a brain tumor and lung cancer caused by exposure to the PCBs, it spurred 20,000 residents to file a class-action lawsuit against Monsanto.

The company was ultimately ordered to pay residents damages of $700 million. But now, more than 13 years later, residents of the small town are finding out that Monsanto’s toxic dumping is still wreaking havoc on their lives (7).

Devastating Liver Damage

The devastatingly toxic PCBs dumped in Anniston, Alabama, continue to affect the health of its residents, according to a new two-year study published by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

After finding out about the PCB poisoning, Anniston researchers reviewed the health of 766 of its residents between 2005 and 2007. In 2013, they followed up with 738 of the residents, and later in 2014, with 352 of the same residents. Researchers were astounded to find that the Anniston residents have a 60 percent rate of fatty liver disease compared to the average 24.3 percent rate found in the rest of the general US population.They further found that while PCB levels dropped slightly from 2007 to 2014, they are still much higher than the general population. More troubling, however, is that despite this slight drop in levels, researchers also found a connection between higher PCB levels and diabetes. They also linked PCBs to high blood pressure and concluded that liver failure or cancer may result from the type of chronic liver inflammation residents of Anniston continue to experience (8).

Deny, Deny, Deny

Even after illegally dumping millions of pounds of PCBs into the once pristine Choccolocco Creek and numerous open-pit landfills that literally oozed with the toxic sludge, Monsanto continued to outright deny the damning evidence of the deadly health repercussions caused by their actions. Investigators found thousands of Monsanto documents, some clearly marked “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy,” showing intent on the part of the corporate giant, that concealed the dumping for decades.While of little consequence to the some 20,000 affected residents in Anniston, Monsanto’s lawyers did admit in 2001 that PCB exposure can sometimes cause chloracne, a serious skin condition, which they clearly added was the only significant problem the chemicals are even capable of causing, something that is clearly contrary to every study done on PCBs.

Devastated Town

In the interim, Anniston is now a virtual ghost town. With a good chunk of the homes and businesses in the small town destroyed after Monsanto purchased them to mitigate their damages, the remaining residents, most of which are low-income families, are left to deal with the contaminated land and a slew of growing health problems.One such resident is Brenda Crook, who lived just a block away from the former Monsanto plant responsible for the decades of illegal dumping.Crook lived in Anniston most of her life, and until the dumping, was a healthy individual by any standards.“I never drank and I never smoked,” she said in a story published in TheAnniston Star in December 2016. “But I got cancer.” (9)Doctors confirmed high levels of PCBs in her blood. As a result of her cancer, Crook had to undergo expensive treatments, including radiation and three surgeries to date.“Now I also have gout, high blood pressure and diabetes,” she adds, which doctors also attribute to the PCBs. And because Crook, like most of the Anniston residents, is in a low-income area and is too sick to work, she also struggles to pay the mounting monthly costs of her health insurance’s co-pay, despite the settlement by Monsanto.

Poor, Sick, And Helpless

And with little money to move, most of the remaining residents in Anniston will continue to live in the small town that is so saturated with toxic chemicals that they have literally soaked into the ground they walk on, and then ooze into the very air they breathe every day. The problem is still so bad today that residents have to wear masks just to cut their grass.While 60 Minutes reports that residents will receive $600 million of the $700-million settlement, and the remaining $100 million will help pay for the clean-up, according to officials at the State University of New York in Albany, Anniston, Alabama is still the most contaminated site in the entire US (10). And they have Monsanto to thank for it.The only bright light in this otherwise dark story is that Monsanto agreed to fund a medical clinic and PCB research center to help the ailing residents of Anniston deal with their chronic health problems—ironically, the same ones the company insists don’t exist.

SOURCE…www.dailyhealthpost.com

Study Shows Aging Process Increases DNA Mutations

Study shows aging process increases DNA mutations in important type of stem cellAs it is in much of life, the aging process isn’t kind molecular and cellular neuroscience to an important type of stem cell that has great therapeutic promiseResearchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) who looked at the effect of aging on induced (iPSCs) found that genetic increased with the age of the donor who provided the source cells, according to study results published today by the journal Nature Biotechnology.The findings reinforce the importance of screening iPSCs for potentially harmful DNA mutations before using them for therapeutic purposes, said lead investigators Ali Torkamani, Ph.D., director of genome informatics at STSI, and Kristin Baldwin Ph.D., the study’s co-lead investigators and associate professor of molecular and cellular neuroscience at the Dorris Neuroscience Center at TSRI.

“Any time a cell divides, there is a risk of a mutation occurring. Over time, those risks multiply,” Torkamani said. “Our study highlights that increased risk of mutations in iPSCs made from older donors of source cells.”Researchers found that iPSCs made from donors in their late 80s had twice as many mutations among protein-encoding genes as stem cells made from donors in their early 20s.

That trend followed a predictable linear track paired with age with one exception. Unexpectedly, iPSCs made from blood cells donated by people over 90 years old actually contained fewer mutations than what researchers had expected. In fact, stem cells from those extremely elderly participants had mutation numbers more comparable to iPSCs made from donors one-half to two-thirds younger.Researchers said the reason for this could be tied to the fact that remaining in have been protected from mutations over their lifetime by dividing less frequently.

“Using iPSCs for treatment has already been initiated in Japan in a woman with age-related macular degeneration,” said paper co-author and STSI Director Eric Topol, M.D. “Accordingly, it’s vital that we fully understand the effects of aging on these cells being cultivated to treat patients in the future.”STSI is a National Institutes of Health-sponsored site led by Scripps Health in collaboration with TSRI. This innovative research partnership is leading the effort to translate wireless and genetic medical technologies into high-quality, cost-effective treatments and diagnostics for patients.

Of the 336 different mutations that were identified in the iPSCs generated for the study, 24 were in genes that could impair cell function or trigger tumor growth if they malfunctioned.How troublesome these mutations could be depends on how well the stem cells are screened to filter out the defects and how they are used therapeutically, Torkamani said. For example, cells made from iPSCs for a bone marrow transplant would be potentially dangerous if they contained a TET2 gene mutation linked to blood cancer, which surfaced during the study.

“We didn’t find any overt evidence that these mutations automatically would be harmful or pathogenic,” he said.For the study, researchers tapped three sources for 16 participant blood samples: The Wellderly Study, an ongoing STSI research project that is searching for the genetic secrets behind lifelong health by looking at the genes of healthy elderly people ages 80 to 105; the STSI GeneHeart Study, which involves people with coronary artery disease; and TSRI’s research blood donor program.

The iPSCs were generated by study co-authors Valentina Lo Sardo, Ph.D., and Will Ferguson, M.S., researchers in the TSRI group led by Baldwin.”When we proposed this study, we weren’t sure whether it would even be possible to grow iPSCs from the blood of the participants in the Wellderly Study, since others have reported difficulty in making these from aged patients,” Baldwin said. “But through the hard work and careful experiments designed by Valentina and Will, our laboratories became the first to produce iPSCs from the blood of extremely elderly people.”

Source…http://news360.com/article/382262662

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