A Woman With Transplanted Ovarian Tissue Gives Birth To Baby .


THE MIRACLE OF LIFE, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM SCIENCE

12 Weeks, In Ultrasound

A woman in Belgium thought to be infertile has become the first to give birth after receiving a transplant of her own ovarian tissue, according to an articlepublished yesterday in the journal Human Reproduction.

The patient, 27, was originally from the Republic of Congo and was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia when she was five. At age 13, in Belgium, she received chemotherapy in anticipation a bone marrow transplant needed to treat the disease. Her doctors feared that the treatments would make it impossible for her to have a child when she got older, so they took some tissue from her ovaries before starting the procedures. The tissue was taken before the patient had started menstruating, though the doctors say there were signs that she had started puberty.

Ten years later, doctors grafted four parts of the tissue into the patient’s ovaries, which started producing eggs. She got pregnant two years later; this past November, she delivered a healthy baby boy weighing almost seven pounds.

While other women have had grafts of ovarian tissue in the past and had babies as a result, this is the first patient to have a baby from immature transplanted tissue.

Though fertility experts caution that this is one anecdotal case, these results suggest that having a baby from transplanted ovarian tissue could be easier than was previously thought—heartening news for many other women who also have ovarian tissue frozen in the hope of one day having a child.

Signs You Have Healthy Semen


http://www.menshealth.com/health/7-signs-of-healthy-semen?cid=socHE_20150610_47307146&adbid=10155629403345207&adbpl=fb&adbpr=56916320206

Injectable Brain Implant Spies on Individual Neurons


A simple injection is now all it takes to wire up a brain. A diverse team of physicists, neuroscientists and chemists has implanted mouse brains with a rolled-up, silky mesh studded with tiny electronic devices, and shown that it unfurls to spy on and stimulate individual neurons.

The implant has the potential to unravel the workings of the mammalian brain in unprecedented detail. “I think it’s great, a very creative new approach to the problem of recording from large number of neurons in the brain,” says Rafael Yuste, director of the Neuro­technology Center at Columbia University in New York, who was not involved in the work.

If eventually shown to be safe, the soft mesh might even be used in humans to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, says Charles Lieber, a chemist at Harvard University on Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the team. The work was published in Nature Nanotechnology on June 8.

Neuroscientists still do not understand how the activities of individual brain cells translate to higher cognitive powers such as perception and emotion. The problem has spurred a hunt for technologies that will allow scientists to study thousands, or ideally millions, of neurons at once, but the use of brain implants is currently limited by several disadvantages. So far, even the best technologies have been composed of relatively rigid electronics that act like sandpaper on delicate neurons. They also struggle to track the same neuron over a long period, because individual cells move when an animal breathes or its heart beats.

The Harvard team solved these problems by using a mesh of conductive polymer threads with either nanoscale electrodes or transistors attached at their intersections. Each strand is as soft as silk and as flexible as brain tissue itself. Free space makes up 95% of the mesh, allowing cells to arrange themselves around it.

In 2012, the team showed that living cells grown in a dish can be coaxed to grow around these flexible scaffolds and meld with them, but this ‘cyborg’ tissue was created outside a living body. “The problem is, how do you get that into an existing brain?” says Lieber.

The team’s answer was to tightly roll up a 2D mesh a few centimetres wide and then use a needle just 100 micrometres in diameter to inject it directly into a target region through a hole in the top of the skull. The mesh unrolls to fill any small cavities and mingles with the tissue (see ‘Bugging the brain’). Nanowires that poke out can be connected to a computer to take recordings and stimulate cells.

The next steps will be to implant larger meshes containing hundreds of devices, with different kinds of sensors, and to record activity in mice that are awake, either by fixing their heads in place, or by developing wireless technologies that would record from neurons as the animals moved freely. The team would also like to inject the device into the brains of newborn mice, where it would unfold further as the brain grew, and to add hairpin-shaped nanowire probes to the mesh to record electrical activity inside and outside cells.

When Lieber presented the work at a conference in 2014, it “left a few of us with our jaws dropping”, says Yuste.

There is huge potential for techniques that can study the activity of large numbers of neurons for a long period of time with only minimal damage, says Jens Schouenborg, head of the Neuronano Research Centre at Lund University in Sweden, who has developed a gelatin-based ‘needle’ for delivering electrodes to the brain. But he remains sceptical of this technique: “I would like to see more evidence of the implant’s long-term compatibility with the body,” he says. Rigorous testing would be needed before such a device could be implanted in people. But, says Lieber, it could potentially treat brain damage caused by a stroke, as well as Parkinson’s disease.

Lieber’s team is not funded by the US govern­ment’s US$4.5-billion Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, launched in 2013, but the work points to the power of that effort’s multidisciplinary approach, says Yuste, who was an early proponent of the BRAIN initiative. Bringing physical scientists into neuroscience, he says, could help to “break through the major experimental and theoretical challenges that we have to conquer in order to understand how the brain works”.

Elon Musk’s plan to put the Internet in space moves to launch pad June 10


internet in space

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has asked the FCC to let it start testing a new Internet service, delivered to customers from space.
Last month, Musk petitioned the government to launch up to eight prototype satellites into space. They would be equipped with antennas that would send an Internet signal back down to the earth’s surface.

SpaceX said it wants to start testing out the technology in 2016. The FCC declined to comment on the application because it is currently under review.
You can already get an Internet signal from above. But it requires special hardware. It’s spotty, slow and ludicrously expensive.
SpaceX’s equipment would be closer to the ground than typical satellites, orbiting at around 750 miles above the surface. That allows for tighter light beams and faster Internet than geosynchronous satellites. The downside is a much smaller coverage area.
Eventually, Musk & Co. plan to launch 4,000 satellites in order to serve a meaningful number of customers. To keep costs down, the satellites will be tiny, cheap and disposable.
The relatively close proximity to Earth means the satellites will have to combat gravitational forces with fuel, and when they run out in six months to a year, they’ll have to be replaced. But SpaceX sees that as an opportunity to frequently update the technology it hopes to use to deploy its Internet service.
It’s a potentially very expensive endeavor, and Google (GOOGL, Tech30) and Fidelity provided SpaceX with $1 billion in funding for the project.
SpaceX’s mission to deliver reliable Internet access worldwide isn’t unique. Other tech entrepreneurs realize there’s a vast, untapped potential in connecting the estimated 3 billion people who still aren’t online.
Virgin’s Richard Branson is backing OneWeb, a SpaceX rival that wants to launch a fleet of 648 microsatellites to bring high-speed Internet and phone service “to people living in underserved areas.”
Launchng mini satellites to provide telecommunications service has been tried before. The Motorola-backed project Iridium aspired to do the same for cell phones before it ended up in bankruptcy in 1999.
That’s why some tech companies are seeking other, less high-tech methods. Google launched Project Loon, a battalion of Wi-Fi balloons that will float in the stratosphere. And Facebook (FB, Tech30) wants to do something similar with high-flying drones for his Internet.org project.

Mers outbreak: Don’t drink potentially fatal camel urine, WHO warns


Seven people in South Korea have died as a result of Mers in the latest outbreak, the largest since the syndrome was first detected in the Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Authorities in Seoul confirmed the seventh death, of a 68-year-old woman who had a pre-existing heart condition, on Tuesday. There have been 95 infections and 2,500 people are currently in quarantine in South Korea.

The WHO guidance was issued in response to the infection of a 75-year-old man thousands of miles to the west, in Oman, last week. Mers, caused by a new strain of coronavirus, can affect people and animals, and one theory is that the syndrome started in animals before making the jump to humans.

A medical worker from South Korea handles a sample tube from a man suspected of carrying the MERS virusA medical worker from South Korea handles a sample tube from a man suspected of carrying the MERS virus

Mers has been detected in camels, and humans have contracted Mers after coming into contact with camels. However, doctors are still not sure how how humans become infected.

The man, who was said to be in a stable condition on a hospital isolation ward after testing positive for Mers on 29 May, was reported by WHO to own “a barn with camels and young calves, and [have] frequent contact with them”.

WHO said that those with pre-existing conditions including diabetes, renal failure and chronic lung disease are considered to be at high-risk from MERS.

“General hygiene measures” such as avoiding close contact with animals, especially camels, and hand-washing after coming into contact with animals, should be followed, WHO said.

A statement posted on the WHO website adds: “Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.”

South Korea's health ministry has reported eight new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus

South Korea’s health ministry has reported eight new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus

Symptoms of Mers, which has killed over 400 people worldwide since Sept

The Difference Between Various Kinds of Protein Supplements


They’re called protein supplements for a reason: you only need them if your current intake needs a boost. But taking in an appropriate amount feels like taking in the last episode of Game of Thrones. If you need to know the difference, this handy guide will help.

We’ve talked about the importance of protein a few times for the purposes of weight loss (See step two here). If you’re unaccustomed to higher protein diets, it may be challenging at the start, in which case supplementation a can help. Still, there’s a myriad of options (milk protein, casein protein, multiple types of whey protein such as whey or casein protein), which can get confusing, especially if you’re just starting out. If choosing the right supplement feels like picking car insurance, this guide by Greatist will help.

Here’s a quick rundown of the various types:

Whey protein: faster digesting and optimal for post workout consumption.
Casein protein: slow digesting and optimal for consuming before bedtime.
Egg protein: made from eggs. Nothing particularly special about it, but it happens to be the most expensive type.
Soy protein: made from soy and ideal for vegetarians and vegans, as it contains all of the essential amino acids
Rice protein: hypoallergenic and contains fiber. Its amino acid profile is incomplete and shouldn’t be a large source of protein, however.
Hemp protein: contains all of the essential amino acids and vegan friendly.
Pea protein: vegan-friendly protein that’s probably closest to the whole-food source.

All Your Burning Questions About Ice Baths, Answered


All Your Burning Questions About Ice Baths, Answered

Overview

Ice baths are such a widely used method of recovery for athletes that they’ve become a staple in pop culture: Peyton Manning sings insurance jingles in them, and 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi’s devotion to his post-workout cold soak helped spike interest in the practice.

And why not? Your favorite athletes do it after they train or compete because ice baths are supposed to, among other things, increase circulation to reduce soreness days after your workout, flush out lactic acid, increase metabolism for fat loss and increase testosterone production.

But should you be filling your tub with ice after a hard workout? Elite athletes do, and they rely on many practices backed by sound science. But they also do things that are totally strange — like wearing energy necklaces and bathing in red wine because they’re superstitious and will do anything they think will make them better, faster, stronger, etc. So are ice baths for real?

Will It Stop Soreness?

When it comes to reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), the condition in which you feel the effects of leg day for the following two days, the studies say no. The idea was that being cold would increase blood flow when you exit the tub, which was supposed to flush bad metabolic debris from your muscles.

But in a small 2013 study of “recreationally active” athletes published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, a 20-minute dip in a 41-degree (Fahrenheit) ice bath after a workout did not decrease DOMS over a 72-hour period.

Additionally, another study, this one from a 2015 study in BioMed Research International, found that a five-minute ice bath after a 30-minute workout decreased lipid peroxidation, a process that results in cell damage.

Neither study indicated how athletes performed in their next workout, though several other studies have. In a 2007 study, cyclists who soaked for 15 minutes in 55-degree (Fahrenheit) water before returning to the bike saw decreases in power and total work when they hopped back on the pedals after an hour.

But soccer players who soaked in a 50-degree (Fahrenheit) ice bath between games of a tournament felt they were less fatigued and sore, even though physical indicators said that they weren’t any better off than players who didn’t do the ice bath. So the restorative effects of an ice bath may be mostly mental — and that’s OK.

Will It Burn Fat?

A few years ago, Internet videos and celebrities like Lindsay Lohan were touting the fat-burning and weight-loss benefits of cold showers and ice baths. And unlike many of her career choices, Lohan was on to something.

In a 2014 study from the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers found that shivering for 10 to 15 minutes released the same amount of the hormone irisin that is released during an hour of moderate exercise. Irisin turns white fat cells — cells that store up to 300 calories of energy — into brown fat cells, a fat type associated with keeping warm that can burn up to 300 calories per day.

You don’t have to be shivering like crazy, though. The cold experienced by study participants was 14 to 16 degrees Celsius (57 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit), significantly warmer than those in the performance and soreness studies mentioned.

What If It’s Really Cold?

Recently elite athletes have taken post-workout cold therapy to a new extreme, participating in something called “whole-body cryotherapy,” a dry treatment that’s far more frigid (-150 degrees Fahrenheit and colder) and much shorter (about three minutes per session) than traditional ice baths. Athletes — including Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, Devin Harris of the Dallas Mavericks and even Lebron James — have been stepping in these chambers to recover faster.

Studies on this technique tend to be small, and the overall volume of studies is also small, but in some cases this technique has worked. In one study from 2014, active college-age men who underwent whole-body cryotherapy twice a day for five days after a workout significantly reduced the inflammatory response of the exercise when compared with a control group. But at $100 per session, that’s $1,000 just to experience less soreness.

Well, It Can’t Hurt, Right?

Most experts believe that even if the ice baths don’t actually help with the physiological process of recovery, they won’t hurt. And with the perceived effect experienced by soccer players and the fat-converting effects of shivering, this practice may work for your workout recovery.

If you want to try it out, start slow. Note that the best results in the previously mentioned studies were in water that’s cold — but not ridiculously so. A bath of 50 degrees Fahrenheit gave the soccer players the feeling that they were less fatigued and sore. Start at a warmer temperature like this (or at 57 degrees, as in the fat-converting group), and if you like the experience, gradually decrease the temperature. And if you don’t like it, stop: It may not really work, anyway.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EXTENSIVELY DRUG-RESISTANT TUBERCULOSIS


A woman with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) is currently being treated at the National Institute of Health as officials race to find anyone she might have exposed to the dangerous bacteria.

The patient has been in the U.S. for approximately six to seven weeks, traveling through three states – Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee – before being diagnosed, according to the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The woman reportedly sought treatment for TB several times in India, but did not complete her treatment regimen, which can last months.

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said not finishing a course of treatment is a common way this dangerous kind of TB can develop.

“This is a big deal and it’s not because this type of TB is more contagious but if you get this, 70 percent of the time it is fatal,” said Besser.

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis is a condition where TB bacteria have changed enough to circumvent the two most potent antibiotic medicines, as well as most others, according to the NIH website.

Once this form of TB develops, doctors are left with fewer treatment options to battle the disease.

The unnamed patient is currently being treated by Dr. Steven Holland, the chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to a statement from the NIH.

“The patient will likely receive drugs with activity against TB that he/she has not previously received,” NIH officials said in a statement. “We will confer with other XDR-TB experts, including those at CDC, to determine an optimal regimen.”

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical School, said the arrival of XDR TB is “serious business.”

“We have to use combinations of drugs that are used less frequently, they may have more side effects and their effectiveness against TB bacteria is not quite as good or less certain,” Schaffner said of treating patients with this rarer form of TB.

This extreme form of TB is not more contagious but can be spread through prolonged close contact. Schaffner explained that a person can be more or less infectious depending on how the disease symptoms present.

“If the edges of your vocal chords are infected with TB you really aerosolize lots of TB bacteria,” said Schaffner, who said that happened in rare circumstances.

Tuberculosis can spread through coughs, sneezes, shouts or even singing, according to the CDC. Because it takes time for the bacteria to grow in the blood, health officials may test people multiple times to determine if they have developed the disease.

While there is a TB vaccine, it is not generally used in the U.S. due to its “limited effectiveness for preventing the most common forms of TB and in preventing TB in adults,” according to the CDC.

“The CDC will be figuring out who all those exposed people are,” said Schaffner. “And put them on a spectrum of likelihood of risk from trivial to much more serious.”

Cases of XDR TB are extremely rare in the U.S. and the NIH has admitted just about 20 patients with severe or resistant TB in the last 20 years.

Symptoms of the disease include weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. As the bacteria affect the lung patients may cough, have chest pain or cough up blood.

Does This Make Me Fat, Or Is It My Genes?


Picking a fight with your spouse is like scratching a scab — it’s rarely a good idea, and it’s worse when done in public.

But that didn’t stop one couple from getting into an argument during a session at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting. People within earshot of the couple, glasses of Chianti and Pinot grigio in hand, listened closely as the husband laid out the terms of the argument.

Far from being uncomfortable, the crowd seemed to be enjoying the face-off — and they were getting CME credits too.

Who were the so-called opponents? Jeffrey Flier, MD — the dean of the faculty of medicine at Harvard University in Boston, and his wife,Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, MD, a professor of medicine at Harvard. Their topic was the root cause of the obesity epidemic.

While Flier made the case that obesity is largely because of genetics, Maratos-Flier posited that we should understand obesity in terms of its external circumstances.

The Environmental Argument

There is an obesity epidemic, there is no debate about that, with more than a third of U.S. adults qualifying as obese, according to the CDC, and that costs healthcare billions of dollars each year. Worldwide, there are more than a billion obese people.

“But this is not an epidemic that is based entirely on french fries and burgers,” said Maratos-Flier, pointing out that the U.S. is not the only country with an obesity problem.

Mexico, Australia, and the U.K. are in the same situation, as are other countries, despite varying dietary habits. There are many underlying risk factors for obesity — poverty, race, education, and maternal obesity.

But there’s another reason for the obesity increase, according to Maratos-Flier — the availability of inexpensive, often nutritionally deficient food.

Food in the U.S. has stayed relatively inexpensive compared with the cost of other consumables. “If something is cheaper, it’s easier to eat more of it, though we can’t show causation,” she said.

Obesity is hardly a modern disease, but one that’s been around for ages, she pointed out, showing portraits of several figures in Tudor England.

At age 55, England’s King Henry VIII was believed to weigh more than 320 lbs. He reportedly consumed 5,000 calories a day and 70 pints of ale a week. His contemporariesThomas Cromwell and Thomas More weren’t exactly skinny either, she said.

“Obesity was actually in vogue at the time,” she said. “The right kind of environment will drive obesity in a major way.”

Then there’s the bad dietary advice based on biases, not data, that people follow. Type 2 diabetes patients were often told that 45% to 65% of their calories should come from starchy carbohydrates, but that only made sense in the era before people took insulin, she said.

Maratos-Flier counseled that we need to do away with the following beliefs:

  • One diet fits all populations
  • Breakfast is necessarily the most important meal of the day
  • Carbohydrates can “jump-start” the metabolism
  • Fats are less filling than other foods

She noted that an increasingly sedentary lifestyle is also an environmental factor in the rise of obesity. As jobs decline in the agricultural, building, and service sectors, daily routines have become more sedentary, she added.

The Case for Nature

Flier seemingly conceded the debate at the start of his argument. “I would be happy to declare her the winner of the debate right now,” he said.

However, he noted that obesity and body mass index (BMI) is about 50% to 70% genetic. The evidence for this comes from three major sources: family studies of obesity, twin studies, and adoption studies.

In the twin studies, researchers would overfeed one twin and underfeed the other, but found that genetics accounted for some response, regardless of environment. Research has also been done on genes and obesity in mouse models.

Some genes were found to be strongly associated with obesity, but they are relatively rare, affecting only a small portion of those who are obese, Flier said. There are about 130 proposed genes that account for obesity, but only about 10 have been established in large studies and meta-analyses.

“Although obesity is clearly heritable, only a few genes were firmly associated with obesity or related traits,” Flier said. In the last 10 years, genome-wide association studies have identified more than 75 new “obesity-susceptibility loci.” These loci affect adult and childhood BMI, but not birth weight, and have a very low predictive value, he stated.

Research is still needed to identify the underlying genes and gain a better understanding of the role of epigenetic factors, Flier said. In addition, it seems that changes in intestinal bacteria have metabolic consequences, but most of the genes in the microbiome remain unidentified.

It’s unclear how much environment and dietary factors affect the microbiome and exactly how changes in the gut affect obesity. In addition, research is needed on how the brain regulates appetite and satiety.

Flier stressed that there is so still much about obesity that remains a mystery. “Most of the answers right now are unknown,” he noted.

Toxoplasma Gondii, Parasite In Cat Feces, Linked To Schizophrenia And Other Mental Illness


Cat meow

Cats may harbor a parasite called T. gondii, which is released into the environment through their feces.

The stereoytpe of the crazy cat lady may soon have a scientific explanation.

Cats — especially stray or outdoor ones — may carry a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) in their feces. This parasite is able to infect any warm-blooded animal, including humans; the CDC estimates that some 60 million Americans have it. Most people don’t show any symptoms of the infection, but people with a weaker immune system could get sick with toxoplasmosis, which has been linked to miscarriage, fetal developmental disorders, blindness, and flu-like symptoms.

It turns out that in addition to toxoplasmosis, it’s possible that T. gondii is linked to mental illness, including schizophrenia, according to recent research. The study, published in the journal Schizophrenia Research, claims that having a cat during childhood is a risk factor for developing schizophrenia or other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder later on.

The researchers compared two past studies that examined the link between cat ownership and schizophrenia, to mental health data from 1982. Their results, which claim that cat exposure in childhood could play a role in mental illness, supplements another recent study out of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam. The Dutch study found that someone infected with T. gondii was twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as those who did not have the parasite.

Various studies conducted in the past several decades have found links between T. gondiiinfection and subtle changes in behavior, such as increased levels of dopamine, extroversion in females (and introversion in males, interestingly), as well as less inhibition in risky or scary situations. The infection has been linked to a double increase in the risk of getting into a car accident, lower reaction times, and has even been dubbed the “crazy cat lady syndrome.”

But let’s not freak out and get rid of our cats. The study doesn’t actually prove that the parasite can cause mental illness; it simply hypothesizes that it might, based on the loose link between having a childhood cat and later developing mental illness. The researchers note that more research is needed. “We urge our colleagues to try and replicate these findings to clarify whether childhood cat ownership is truly a risk factor for later schizophrenia,” they write in the abstract.

And scientists still aren’t entirely sure how the parasite works, travels, or even infects humans. One thing is fairly certain: It can only reproduce in cats, and it’s released into the environment from infected cats’ feces, where it can be picked up by grazing animals (pigs, rodents, cows). Humans can come into contact with it through handling cat litter/feces, or eating undercooked or raw meat (which is actually a bigger risk factor than owning a cat).

“I don’t want to cause any panic,” Joanne Webster, a parsitologist at the Imperial College London who has studied the parasite, told The Atlantic. “In the vast majority of people, there will be no ill effects, and those who are affected will mostly demonstrate subtle shifts of behavior. But in a small number of cases, [Toxo infection] may be linked to schizophrenia and other disturbances associated with altered dopaminc levels — for example, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and mood disorders.”

You can get tested for T. gondii with a simple blood test. But if you’re not already exhibiting symptoms of toxoplasmosis, it’s likely you’re OK and shouldn’t view your cat as a parasite-carrying death sentence. Your cat is still just a cute furball that will continue to steal the Internet’s heart.

Source: Torrey E, Simmons W, Yolken R. Is childhood cat ownership a risk factor for schizophrenia later in life? Schizophrenia Research. 2015.

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