A new pathway for neuron repair is discovered.

Penn State University molecular biologists have discovered a brand-new pathway for repairing nerve cells that could have implications for faster and improved healing. The researchers describe their findings in a paper titled “Dendrite injury triggers DLK-independent regeneration,” which will be published in the 30 January 2014 issue of the journal Cell Reports. These findings demonstrate that dendrites, the component of nerve cells that receive information from the brain, have the capacity to regrow after an injury.

Previous studies using many models have shown that when nerve , or neurons, are injured they repair the damage through regrowth of axons, the component of a neuron that sends information to other cells, explained co-author Melissa Rolls, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State. “For example, if you break your arm and the bone slices some axons, you may lose feeling or movement in part of your hand. Over time you get this feeling back as the axon regenerates.”

Using the fruit fly (Drosophila) as a model system, the researchers took what Rolls calls a “radical approach,” cutting off all of the dendrites in neuron cells. “We wanted to really push the cells to the furthest limit,” she said. “By cutting off all the dendrites, the cells would no longer be able to receive information, and we expected they might die. We were amazed to find that the cells don’t die. Instead, they regrow the dendrites completely and much more quickly than they regrow axons. Within a few hours they’ll start regrowing dendrites, and after a couple of days they have almost their entire arbor. It’s very exciting—these cells are extremely robust.”

Moreover, it appears that dendrite regeneration happens independently of axon regeneration. When Rolls and her colleagues blocked the key signaling molecules that are required for axon regeneration in all animals, they found that dendrites were unaffected and continued to regrow. “This means that, not only do these neurons have an incredible ability to generate, they have two different regeneration pathways: one for axons and one for dendrites,” she said. “Because it has not even been clear that dendrites can regenerate, it’s a complete open question about what might be involved in that process. The next step will be to look for markers for dendrite regrowth—proteins that are required or genes that are turned on in the process—so we can learn more about what’s going on during dendrite repair. We don’t even know in what scenarios dendrite regeneration might happen in people yet because no one has known that it exists.”

The implications for human health—although a long way down the road—are important, Rolls said. For example, in the case of stroke, when a region of the brain suffers blood loss, dendrites on  are damaged and can be repaired only if blood loss is very brief. Otherwise, it is thought those brain cells die. But if those cells are able to regenerate , and if scientists learn how dendrite regrowth happens, researchers may be able to promote this process.

“We’ve provided some cause for hope when it comes to neuron damage,” Rolls said. “This is optimistic work we are doing. It’s just great to know there is this whole other pathway for survival that no one has even looked into before.”


IVF babies have greater risk of complications, study finds

Single children born after IVF are found to be nearly twice as likely to be born early, stillborn or die within 28 days of birth.

The study did not look at whether IVF treatment was to blame for the greater risk of complications.

Children born after IVF treatment have a greater risk of complications ranging from preterm birth to neonatal death, according to a major study into the health of newborns.

Doctors found that single IVF babies were nearly twice as likely to be born early, to be stillborn, or to die within the first 28 days of delivery compared with those conceived naturally.

But the study, based on more than 300,000 births in South Australiabetween 1986 and 1992, did not look at whether IVF treatment was to blame, and leaves open the possibility that the IVF babies fared worse for other reasons, such as health problems, or older age, that caused couples to be infertile in the first place.

“There is in all likelihood a contribution from both the treatment and patient factors,” said Michael Davies, who led the study at the University of Adelaide. “We have very unfriendly work practices that mean families defer child-bearing until women are relatively old, and that is tragic.”

The age of the medical records, with the most recent being from 2002, means they provide an overview of newborn baby health that is more than a decade old, during which time IVF technology and clinical procedures have advanced.

“We need to add more data to see if the improvements in embryology and clinical treatment over the past five to 10 years have flowed through to improve these perinatal outcomes. That is quite plausible, but we do not know,” Davies said.

The researchers found that preterm birth rates rose from 4.7% in naturally conceived babies to 8% in those born to couples who had IVF. Neonatal deaths rose from 0.3% in naturally conceived babies to 0.5% in IVF children.

The findings build on previous work that has found similar rates of birth problems in IVF babies. A survey of medical reviews published in 2004found that IVF babies had around twice the risk of death shortly before or after birth, and a similarly increased risk of low birthweight and preterm birth.

“What’s hard to tease out is how much is due to the treatment itself and how much is due to underlying infertility which the ART [assisted reproductive technology] is overcoming,” said Dagan Wells at the Institute of Reproductive Sciences at Oxford University.

Writing in the journal, Plos One, the researchers claim that freezing embryos before thawing and implanting them – an increasingly common procedure – can overcome the risk of preterm birth after ICSI or Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, where sperm are injected directly into eggs. Freezing may help because the embryos are implanted once the woman’s hormones have settled down after treatment to produce more eggs.

The most striking finding, which needs confirmation, was of a group of women who were diagnosed as infertile but had babies after continuing to try naturally. Babies born to these women appeared to fare much worse than others, with average birthweights that were 250g lighter than others conceived naturally. The risk of these babies being stillborn was nearly seven times greater.

The cause of the problem is unclear and needs confirmation, but if real may be down to the parents’ health or lifestyles. But Davies suspects that the women are receiving other treatment that is to blame. “We know this group of women tend to use a drug called clomiphene citrate for infertility. It’s a very common, very cheap drug, but its adverse consequences have not been terribly well studied. We are now extremely keen to investigate this,” he said.

A child’s right to die?

A child’s right to die? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25651758

‘Heat maps’ find cervical cancer

‘Heat maps’ find cervical cancer http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25655979

Scientists discover extracellular vesicles produced by ocean microbes.

Marine cyanobacteria—tiny ocean plants that produce oxygen and make organic carbon using sunlight and CO2—are primary engines of Earth’s biogeochemical and nutrient cycles. They nourish other organisms through the provision of oxygen and with their own body mass, which forms the base of the ocean food chain.

Now scientists at MIT have discovered another dimension of the outsized role played by these tiny cells: The cyanobacteria continually produce and release , spherical packages containing carbon and other nutrients that can serve as food parcels for marine organisms. The vesicles also contain DNA, likely providing a means of gene transfer within and among communities of similar bacteria, and they may even act as decoys for deflecting viruses.

In a paper published this week in Science, postdoc Steven Biller, Professor Sallie (Penny) Chisholm, and co-authors report the discovery of large numbers of extracellular vesicles associated with the two most abundant types of cyanobacteria, Prochlorococcus and Synechoccocus. The scientists found the vesicles (each about 100 nanometers in diameter) suspended in cultures of the cyanobacteria as well as in seawater samples taken from both the nutrient-rich coastal waters of New England and the nutrient-sparse waters of the Sargasso Sea.

Although extracellular vesicles were discovered in 1967 and have been studied in human-related bacteria, this is the first evidence of their existence in the ocean.

“The finding that vesicles are so abundant in the oceans really expands the context in which we need to understand these structures,” says Biller, first author on the Science paper. “Vesicles are a previously unrecognized and unexplored component of the dissolved organic carbon in marine ecosystems, and they could prove to be an important vehicle for genetic and biogeochemical exchange in the oceans.”

Billions and billions of vesicles

Biller’s metagenomic analysis of the vesicles taken from the seawater revealed DNA from a diverse array of bacteria, suggesting that vesicle production is common to many marine microbes. The researchers estimate the global production of vesicles by Prochlorococcus alone at a billion billion billion per day—representing a notable addition of carbon to the scarce nutrient pool of the open seas.

The R/V Atlantic Explorer enroute to an ocean sampling station, December 2012. Credit: Steven Biller

Lab experiments showed that the vesicles are stable, lasting two weeks or more, and that the organic carbon they contain provides enough nutrients to support the growth of nonphotosynthetic bacteria.

Given the dearth of nutrients in the open ocean, the daily release by an organism of a packet one-sixth the size of its own body is puzzling, Chisholm says. Prochlorococcus has lost the ability to neutralize certain chemicals and depends on nonphotosynthetic bacteria to break down chemicals that would otherwise act as toxins. It’s possible the vesicle “snack packets” help make this relationship mutually beneficial.

Prochlorococcus is the smallest genome that can make  from sunlight and carbon dioxide and it’s packaging this carbon and releasing it into the seawater around it,” says Chisholm, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Biology, who is lead investigator of the study. “There must be an evolutionary advantage to doing this. Our challenge is to figure out what it is.”

Because the vesicles also contain DNA and RNA, the researchers surmise they could play a role in , a means for developing genetic diversity and sharing ecologically useful genes among the Prochlorococcus metapopulation.

Marine decoy

But perhaps the most unusual potential role of the vesicles is as a decoy for predators: Electron microscopy shows phages (viruses that attack bacteria) attached to vesicles. When a phage injects its DNA into the vesicle (making it impossible for the phage to reproduce in a living cell), it renders the phage inactive, according to Biller, who says the vesicles could be acting like chaff released by a fighter jet to divert missile attacks. A phage attached to a vesicle is effectively taken out of the battle, providing a creative means of deterrence.

“Marine cyanobacteria of the genera Prochlorococcus and Synechoccocus are the two most abundant phototrophs,” says biologist David Scanlan, a professor at the University of Warwick who was not involved in this research. “By releasing extracellular vesicles these organisms shed new light on the importance of such particles in the largest ecosystem on Earth—the open ocean—with implications for marine carbon cycling, mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer, and as a defense against phage attack.”

The vesicles first came to Chisholm’s attention in 2008 when Anne Thompson, then a graduate student, noticed little “blebs” on the surface of Prochlorococcus cells while using electron microscopy. Neither she nor Chisholm nor other ocean biologists who saw the photo were able to identify the spheres. But Biller, who joined Chisholm’s lab in 2010 after completing his graduate studies on soil bacteria, recognized them as vesicles, and began the study resulting in the Science paper.

How to Give Up Taking the Hard Road and Find the Middle Way.

“Is your doing surrendered or non-surrendered? This is what determines your success in life, not how much effort you make. Effort implies stress and strain, needing to reach a certain point in the future or accomplish a certain result.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

It’s a popular myth that can be hard to shake, namely that the hard road is the best route, and the harder you work at your purpose, the bigger and sooner you will succeed. It’s the belief that working until blood pours from your forehead is secretly preferable to a more balanced steady approach. Think about it: how many of us love to proclaim how busy we are? How many of us love to proclaim how balanced we are? Even if we consciously dismiss the idea that the arduous is the best, it’s in the air: trying harder and being harder on yourself wins the game.

Except every bit of research shows this is a lie. Extensive research shows self-compassion and a slow and steady, step-by-small-step approach is what creates true success – the kind of success that is aligned with your purpose and your heart. But living that research, that truth, can be oh so elusive. Personally, I tend to vacillate between “I’ll just answer one more email before I pee” until I almost don’t make it to the bathroom and thinking “I’ll just visualize my way to writing my next book, no need to actually put in the time.” In other words, the Buddha’s beautiful middle way can elude me, and that can tie me in knots where I actually get little done.

Until I remember the brain in my heart. Those amazing 40,000 plus neurons scattered throughout my heart and yours, offering us an elegant and effective way to step off the hard road and glide (or sometimes stumble) onto the middle way. In case you didn’t know, your “heart brain” is a complex nervous system that operates independently of your cranial brain. It learns and remembers, feels and senses, and it directly influences your higher brain functions, much more so than your cranial brain.  Research has shown the faster and most effective way to calm your central nervous system and turn on your decision-making, creativity, and intuition is through activating your heart brain.

I think of it as an emotional thermostat I can use anywhere any time to realign me with what’s most important and to instill just the right measure of chill. To live my purpose through focused intentional feeling.

Try it out – see what you think:

Become aware of your body. That might mean simply remembering you have a body, it might mean making a quick trip for that long overdue pee, it might mean feeling the chair you are sitting against and taking a couple of full breaths. Make it easy.

Place your hand on your heart (unless you’re driving and this will make you careen into traffic which would defeat the purpose of the whole exercise). Recall a time when you were feeling balanced and productive, living with purpose and relaxed about outcome. Too tall an order? Simply remember a time you felt good – the last time you had a great orgasm or floated down a lazy warm river or hung out with friends who really get you. Spend about a minute letting these feelings grow stronger.  Let the specific memory fade and focus just on the good feelings… not straining or naming what you’re feeling, just relaxing into the good feelings.

Now ask yourself, “What is the simplest thing I could next?”  You might have a “next” in mind – a specific project or situation, or maybe not. Doesn’t matter. Trust the power of your heart brain to show you just right next step.

Then take that step. Notice what you know now.  Rinse and repeat the process – it only takes about a minute. Notice after a couple of days if you’ve found your middle way. How does it feel? What results are you noticing? Make a few notes so that when you forget and start hoofing it up the hard road again (we all do!), you have proof that your heart brain can help.

It’s always there, right inside you, ready to be tapped, ready to help you live your purposeful life!

Do you believe that self-compassion and a slow and steady, step-by-small-step approach can lead to true success?

Antidiabetic Drugs May Threat Your Bladder.

Latest research published in Canadian Medical Association Journal has indicated that one class of Antidiabetic drug may increase the risk of bladder cancer.

 According to the WHO diabetes can be defined as,

“The term “diabetes mellitus” describes a metabolic disorder of multiple aetiology characterized by chronic hyperglycaemia with disturbances of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both”.

There are almost 346 million people who are suffering from diabetes mellitus and in 2004 3.4 million people died due to increased blood sugar.  (WHO)


Now this recent research may increase the rate of death among diabetic patients due to drug induced bladder cancer. The researchers have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the chances of bladder cancer in adults suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus using thiazolidinediones. They suggested that type 2 diabetic patients have 40% more chances of development of cancer.

This study was conducted on more than 2.6 million diabetic patients. Among them, 3,643 were those diabetic patients who were recently diagnosed bladder cancer.

Yeffrey Johnson of the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta gives the statement that,

“We observed an increased risk of bladder cancer associated with the use of thiazolidinediones,”

He further added,

“In particular, use of pioglitazone was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer based on a pooled estimate from three cohort studies involving more than 1.7 million individuals.”

This study was also done on another drug named as rosiglitazone (another type of thiazolidinedione), but researchers have not determined any effect fortunately.

Researchers give a very useful statement that,

“Although the absolute risk of bladder cancer associated with pioglitazone was small, other evidence-based treatments for Type 2 diabetes may be equally effective and do not carry a risk of cancer,”

Ending remarks:

This study is very helpful for physicians who are specialist in diabetes management and treatment. It would be very healthy for patients if they are not prescribed pioglitazone rather there are various other Antidiabetic drugs that could be prescribed and they do not have any carcinogenic effect.

New Drug ” Farxiga” Approved By FDA To Treat patients With Type 2 Diabetes | MediMoon

U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved another drug named as Farxiga (dapaglifozin) to treat type 2 diabetes in adult patients. It has been estimated that nearly 24 million US people suffer type 2 diabetes. If untreated, it can lead to severe health complications including nephropathy, blindness, diabetic foot, neuropathy and etc.

“Controlling blood sugar levels is very important in the overall treatment and care of diabetes, and Farxiga provides an additional treatment option for millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes,” said Curtis Rosebraugh, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation II in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

When diabetic patients take Farxiga it reduces the levels of glucose inside the body by stimulating its excretion and preventing reabsorption of glucose. Therapeutically, it belongs to a class of sodium glucose transporter (SGLT 2) inhibitor.

FDA determined the safety and efficacy of Farxiga by conducting 16 clinical trials in which 9,400 patients suffering from type 2 diabetes were enrolled. There was a significant reduction in value of Hb1Ac when patients used Farxiga in comparison to placebo.

The effectiveness of Farxiga was also studied as an individual therapy and in combination with certain other anti-diabetic drugs such as metformin, pioglitazone, glimepiride, sitagliptin, and insulin. It was advised by FDA to physicians that Farxiga should not be used in patients with

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • End stage renal failure
  • Dialysis

Side effects:

Farxiga can cause several side effects that were observed during clinical trials. Few common side effects are as follows;

  • Dehydration
  • Hypotension
  • Renal abnormalities
  • Active bladder cancer