Spanish hospital uses stem cells to fix heart attack damage .

Reuters / Petr Josek

For the first time in medical history, a hospital in Madrid has successfully treated seven patients who recently suffered heart attacks by using stem cells from donors, according to the hospital’s statement.

“Seven patients have already been operated on and they have progressed very well despite having suffered serious damage to their heart tissue,” the statement, published by Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon Hospital, said.

The hospital plans to treat 55 patients in the framework of the ongoing clinical trial which envisages a medical breakthrough in treating heart attacks. According to hospital officials, this is the first time cells coming from a genetically different person, or allogeneic cells, have been used to treat a myocardial infarction.

The injection of the cells is carried out through a coronary artery seven days after the patient has suffered a heart attack, so he is clinically stable and the cardio-repairing will be more effective. The new method limits the damage suffered after a heart episode, activating the regenerative capacity of the heart itself to produce new tissue.

A myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle is blocked. If the heart can’t get oxygen for a sufficient period of time, the section of heart muscle without it begins to die. During recovery from a heart attack, the dead muscle is replaced by scar tissue which does not contract, reducing the heart’s ability to pump blood.

Reuters / Petr Josek

Over the past decades, doctors have been researching methods to regenerate the scarred parts of the heart. The first in-human use of bone marrow stem cells (BMCs) to treat a heart attack was back in 2001. Since then, a large number of clinical studies have demonstrated their benefit.

There are two main types of stem cell transplants which have been used by doctors. The first one is an autologous stem cell transplant, in which the patient receives his or her own stem cells. The second is allogeneic – when stem cells are donated by another person.

The autologous method has been previously used by doctors. However, this method takes four to eight weeks to process a patient’s own stem cells to be used in therapy, said the hospital’s head of cardiology, Francisco Ferandez-Avila, in a statement on Friday as quoted by AFP. Meanwhile, donor cells can be processed and stored, so they are available for immediate use, he added.

“Besides this very important advantage, this technique allows for the selection of donors whose cells show the greatest potential to repair” heart tissue, he said. “Before being processed, the allogeneic cells are exhaustively studied and only those that functioned best are selected.”

An estimated 17 million people die of cardiovascular disease, particularly heart attacks and strokes, every year, according to World Health Organization estimates. However, according to researchers, the evolution in clinical practice has substantially reduced mortality caused by heart attacks.

Swedish company implants microchips in its staff


  • Swedish company has implanted microchips in its employees’ hands
  • Chips allow staff to use the photocopier and even pay for their lunch
  • Each chip is the size of a grain of rice and stores personal information 
  • Radio-frequency identification is already used in contactless cards 

A Swedish company has implanted microchips in its staff which allows them to use the photocopier, open security doors and even pay for their lunch.

It is hoped that eventually around 700 employees from the Epicenter hi tech office block in Stockholm may eventually have the chips implanted into the back of their hands.

The chips use radio-frequency identification (RFID) and are about the same size as a grain of rice.

Scroll down for video 

A Swedish company has implanted microchips in the hands of staff which allows them to use the photocopier, open security doors and even pay for their lunch - the chip is the size of a grain of rice

A Swedish company has implanted microchips in the hands of staff which allows them to use the photocopier, open security doors and even pay for their lunch – the chip is the size of a grain of rice

The Epicenter building n Stockholm (pictured)  where employees have been implanted with microchips

The Epicenter building n Stockholm (pictured)  where employees have been implanted with microchips.

The future of interactive? How chips are implanted into the hand

They store personal security information which can be transmitted over short distances to special receivers.

RFID chips can already be found in contactless cards – including the Oyster system which is used by more than 10 million people to pay for public transport in London.

They are also similar to the chips implanted in pets.

‘Today it’s a bit messy – we need pin codes and passwords – wouldn’t it be easy to just touch with your  hand?

RFID chips can already be found in contactless cards including  the Oyster system - which is used by more than 10 million people in London

RFID chips can already be found in contactless cards including  the Oyster system – which is used by more than 10 million people in London

‘We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big government come to us and say everyone should get chipped – the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip.’

He says we will then be able to question the way the technology is implemented from a position of much greater knowledge.

He added that they believe they have only just started discovering all of the things having a microchip could allow us to do.

In 1999 Professor Kevin Warwick, of Reading University, had a chip implanted into his nervous system and was able to control a robot arm – developed by his colleague Dr Peter Kyberd – using thought power.

It was hoped the technology could radically change the lives of amputees and victims of paralysis.

Last year MailOnline reported a Brisbane man, Ben Slater, had one of the chips being use din Stockholm injected into his left hand through a syringe at a Melbourne tattoo parlour.

It means Mr Slater can swing his front door open, switch on his lights and store personal information with the flick of his hand.

‘The most obvious thing the chip allows me to do is store my contact information on it, so that I can just touch a phone with NFC and pass my information to their phone. That is a great party trick,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘But it can also trigger an action on my phone to turn the house lights off, open a secure door which is set to recognise the chip or I could – and probably will – set up my car ignition to be linked to the chip for keyless entry and start up.’

Mr Slater told Daily Mail Australia he made the decision to implant the microchip because he had always been interested in the future of technology.

‘I wanted to get the chip implanted to generate discussion,’ he said.

‘It intrigues me that we live in an age where this type of activity is even possible.’

Mr Slater said the procedure to implant the microchip was painful, but over quickly.

‘I just needed to be really careful when it was healing over the course of two weeks so that I didn’t move it – otherwise it could have travelled in my hand,’ he said.

Professor Kevin Warwick pictured with his cybernetic arm at Reading University 

Professor Kevin Warwick pictured with his cybernetic arm at Reading University



Effects of Golden Hour Thrombolysis:A Prehospital Acute Neurological Treatment and Optimization of Medical Care in Stroke (PHANTOM-S) Substudy

Importance  The effectiveness of intravenous thrombolysis in acute ischemic stroke is time dependent. The effects are likely to be highest if the time from symptom onset to treatment is within 60 minutes, termed the golden hour.

Objective  To determine the achievable rate of golden hour thrombolysis in prehospital care and its effect on outcome.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The prospective controlled Prehospital Acute Neurological Treatment and Optimization of Medical Care in Stroke study was conducted in Berlin, Germany, within an established infrastructure for stroke care. Weeks were randomized according to the availability of a specialized ambulance (stroke emergency mobile unit (STEMO) from May 1, 2011, through January 31, 2013. We included 6182 consecutive adult patients for whom a stroke dispatch (44.1% male; mean [SD] age, 73.9 [15.0] years) or regular care (45.0% male; mean [SD] age, 74.2 [14.9] years) were included.

Interventions  The STEMO was deployed when the dispatchers suspected an acute stroke during emergency calls. If STEMO was not available (during control weeks, when the unit was already in operation, or during maintenance), patients received conventional care. The STEMO is equipped with a computed tomographic scanner plus a point-of-care laboratory and telemedicine connection. The unit is staffed with a neurologist trained in emergency medicine, a paramedic, and a technician. Thrombolysis was started in STEMO if a stroke was confirmed and no contraindication was found.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Rates of golden hour thrombolysis, 7- and 90-day mortality, secondary intracerebral hemorrhage, and discharge home.

Results  Thrombolysis rates in ischemic stroke were 200 of 614 patients (32.6%) when STEMO was deployed and 330 of 1497 patients (22.0%) when conventional care was administered (P < .001). Among all patients who received thrombolysis, the proportion of golden hour thrombolysis was 6-fold higher after STEMO deployment (62 of 200 patients [31.0%] vs 16 of 330 [4.9%]; P < .01). Compared with patients with a longer time from symptom onset to treatment, patients who received golden hour thrombolysis had no higher risks for 7- or 90-day mortality (adjusted odds ratios, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.09-1.70]; P = .21 and 0.69 [95% CI, 0.32-1.53]; P = .36) and were more likely to be discharged home (adjusted odds ratio, 1.93 [95% CI, 1.09-3.41]; P = .02).

Conclusions and Relevance  The use of STEMO increases the percentage of patients receiving thrombolysis within the golden hour. Golden hour thrombolysis entails no risk to the patients’ safety and is associated with better short-term outcomes.

40 Stunning Images Captured Through A Microscope

In stunning detail not visible to the human eye, the winning entrants in Nikon’s Small World photography competition will give you a fresh view of the world.

From the desk of Zedie.

Biotech company to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida.

mosquitos 2
When chemistry falls short, biotechnology is ready to pick up the slack in the southern US. The UK-based biotech firm Oxitec is working on a plan with the FDA to combat mosquito-transmitted disease with genetically modified organisms rather than chemical pesticides. If the plan is approved, millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys with the aim of reducing the population of mosquitoes capable of transmitting two tropical diseases, dengue and chikungunya.

Researchers say the warming climate has pushed tropical diseases like dengue and chikungunya further north. These are both viral infections carried by mosquito species like Aedes aegypti, which transmits the virus to humans when biting. Both viruses cause extreme muscle and joint pain, fever, nausea, and plenty of other unpleasant symptoms. Dengue can occasionally progress to life threatening hemorrhagic fever as well. Chikungunya is also known to cause chronic disease that results in joint and muscle pain for years after the initial infection.

Basically, these are diseases you do not want to get, but they’re starting to pop up in Florida. There are no approved vaccines that can prevent infection with either virus, so mosquito control is seen as the only viable option. Local governments have taken to spraying six different pesticides in an attempt to keep the mosquito populations under control, but A. aegypti has already evolved resistance to four of the six agents. It’s much harder for mosquito populations to adapt if you’re targeting them with DNA, though.

Oxitec’s plan involves the production of mosquitoes with modified genetic code containing DNA from the herpes simplex virus, E. coli, coral, and cabbage plants. This is accomplished by injecting eggs with modified DNA as seen below. Millions of these organisms would be bred, then the females would be removed from the population before release. Females are the ones that bite and drink blood, so only non-biting male mosquitoes should be released in Florida, assuming the FDA approves.


These GMO insects will go about their business doing regular mosquito things until they mate with wild female mosquitoes. The modified DNA in the experimental insects will cause all the offspring from this union to die, thus reducing the population of mosquitoes by crowding out wild-type males that can produce viable offspring. This also means the GMO mosquitoes are self-limiting as they cannot reproduce.

Oxitec has conducted initial tests in Brazil and the Cayman Islands, both of which were successful enough that the countries are planning larger deployments of GMO mosquitoes. If approved by the FDA, Oxitec could release the bugs this spring in southern Florida. However, there is local opposition to the plan, based at least partially on a lack of understanding. A petition (with nearly 150,000 signatures) makes a number of misrepresentations and omissions in its portrayal of the plan.

That’s not to say there are no concerns. For example, it’s possible some female mosquitoes could be accidentally released and bite humans. Oxitec says even if that happens, there’s no evidence that would result in the transfer of modified DNA, or that such a thing would harm anyone. It’s up to the FDA now to decide if the project goes forward, but Oxitec does have a lot of data to show their method is effective and safe from laboratory testing as well as the tests in Brazil and the Cayman Islands.

Honeycomb Geometry .

Karunakar Rayker (CC BY 2.0)

Bees have encouraged mathematical speculation for two millennia, since classical scholars tried to explain the geometrically appealing shape of honeycombs. How do bees tackle complex problems that humans would express mathematically? In this series we’ll explore three situations where understanding the maths could help explain the uncanny instincts of bees.

Honeycomb geometry

Honeybees collect nectar from flowers and use it to produce honey, which they then store in honeycombs made of beeswax (in turn derived from honey). A question that has puzzled many inquiring minds across the ages is: why are honeycombs made of hexagonal cells?

The Roman scholar Varro, in his 1st century BC book-long poem De Agri Cultura (“On Agriculture”), briefly states

“Does not the chamber in the comb have six angles, the same number as the bee has feet? The geometricians prove that this hexagon inscribed in a circular figure encloses the greatest amount of space1.”

This quote is the earliest known source suggesting a link between the hexagonal shape of the honeycomb and a mathematical property of the hexagon, made more explicit a few centuries later by Pappus of Alexandria (sometimes considered to be the last Ancient Greek mathematician). Writing after the Roman Empire’s glory days, Pappus points out that there are three regular polygons that tile the plane without gaps—triangles, squares and hexagons—and bees, in their wisdom, choose the design that holds the most honey given a set amount of building material2.