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Patient stem cells help identify common problem in ALS

Patient stem cells help identify common problem in ALS

Harvard stem cell scientists have discovered that a recently approved medication for epilepsy may possibly be a meaningful treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — Lou Gehrig’s disease, a uniformly fatal neurodegenerative disorder. The researchers are now collaborating with Massachusetts General Hospital to design an initial clinical trial testing the safety of the treatment in ALS patients. The investigators all caution that a great deal needs to be done to assure the safety and efficacy of the treatment in ALS patients, before physicians should start offering it Continue reading

Morning rays keep off pounds

Morning rays keep off pounds

A surprising new strategy for managing your weight? Bright morning light. A new Northwestern Medicine® study reports the timing, intensity and duration of your light exposure during the day is linked to your weight — the first time this has been shown. Continue reading

Call for circumcision gets a boost from experts

Call for circumcision gets a boost from experts

In the United States the rate of circumcision in men has increased to 81% over the past decade. In an important new study just published in advance in Mayo Clinic Proceedings authors from Australia and the United States have shown that the benefits of infant male circumcision to health exceed the risks by over 100 to 1. Brian Morris, Professor Emeritus in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney and his colleagues in Florida and Minnesota found that over their lifetime half of uncircumcised males will contract an adverse medical condition caused by their foreskin. Continue reading

Consistent blood pressure control may cut rate of second stroke in half

Consistent blood pressure control may cut rate of second stroke in half

Stroke survivors who consistently control their blood pressure may reduce the likelihood of a second stroke by more than half, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke . For the study, researchers analyzed the results from the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP) trial, which enrolled 3,680 ischemic stroke patients ages 35 and older in 1996-2003. Continue reading

New guidance system could improve minimally invasive surgery

New guidance system could improve minimally invasive surgery

Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a computerized process that could make minimally invasive surgery more accurate and streamlined using equipment already common in the operating room. In a report published recently in the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology, the researchers say initial testing of the algorithm shows that their image-based guidance system is potentially superior to conventional tracking systems that have been the mainstay of surgical navigation over the last decade. “Imaging in the operating room opens new possibilities for patient safety and high-precision surgical guidance,” says Jeffrey Siewerdsen, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Continue reading

Blood-brain barrier repair after stroke may prevent chronic brain deficits

Blood-brain barrier repair after stroke may prevent chronic brain deficits

Following ischemic stroke, the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which prevents harmful substances such as inflammatory molecules from entering the brain, can be impaired in cerebral areas distant from initial ischemic insult. This disruptive condition, known as diaschisis, can lead to chronic post-stroke deficits, University of South Florida researchers report. In experiments using laboratory rats modeling ischemic stroke, USF investigators studied the consequences of the compromised BBB at the chronic post-stroke stage. Continue reading

Diffuse brain damage can occur with no signs of ‘concussion’ in rats, reports study

Diffuse brain damage can occur with no signs of ‘concussion’ in rats, reports study

A standard experimental model of concussion in rats causes substantial brain damage — but no behavioral changes comparable to those seen in patients with concussion, reports a study in the April issue of Neurosurgery , official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health Continue reading

Surprising new way to kill cancer cells

Surprising new way to kill cancer cells

Northwestern Medicine scientists have demonstrated that cancer cells — and not normal cells — can be killed by eliminating either the FAS receptor, also known as CD95, or its binding component, CD95 ligand. “The discovery seems counterintuitive because CD95 has previously been defined as a tumor suppressor,” said lead investigator Marcus Peter, professor in medicine-hematology/Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “But when we removed it from cancer cells, rather than proliferate, they died.” The findings were published March 20 in Cell Reports Continue reading

U.S. headache sufferers get $1 billion worth of brain scans each year

U.S. headache sufferers get $1 billion worth of brain scans each year

One in eight visits to a a doctor for a headache or migraine end up with the patient going for a brain scan, at a total cost of about $1 billion a year, a new University of Michigan Medical School study finds. Continue reading

Improving quality, safety for PCIs performed without on-site backup

Improving quality, safety for PCIs performed without on-site backup

The increasing number of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) being performed at low-volume centers without on-site cardiac surgery backup has driven the need for new safety and quality protocols, according to an expert consensus document released today and written by a committee representing the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and the American Heart Association (AHA). Continue reading