Botox may prevent irregular heartbeat after bypass surgery.

Botox — known for reducing facial wrinkles — may also prevent irregular heart rhythms when injected into fat surrounding the heart after bypass surgery, according to research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

Botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox, is produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. When a small amount of Botox is injected into a muscle, it blocks nerve signals that tell muscles to contract.

Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib, is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

“About a third of all patients undergoing bypass surgery will develop atrial fibrillation, putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular complications,” said Jonathan S. Steinberg, M.D., senior study author and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester and Director of the Arrhythmia Institute in the Valley Health System in Ridgewood, New Jersey. “Atrial fibrillation is also always associated with lengthened hospitalization and that means increased healthcare costs.”

In two Russian hospitals, researchers randomly assigned 60 patients to receive Botox or saline injections. The injections were made in the four major fat pads surrounding the heart. To avoid bias, neither patients nor doctors knew whether the injections contained Botox or saline.

Researchers found that:

  • In the 30 days following surgery, those who received Botox injections during heart bypass surgery had a 7 percent chance of developing AFib, compared to 30 percent chance in patients who received saline.
  • One year after surgery, none of the patients who received Botox had AFib, compared to 27 percent of the patients who received saline.
  • No complications from the Botox injections were reported. But complications from the bypass surgery were similar in both groups, including time in intensive care and on a breathing machine, and infection rate.

The results must be replicated in larger studies before Botox injections are routinely used to prevent AFib after bypass surgery, researchers said. If confirmed in heart bypass patients, Botox injections could also help prevent AFib in people undergoing valve repair or replacement. About half of those patients will develop AFib after surgery.

“This first-in-man study has opened a whole new line of thinking and research,” Steinberg said. “In the near future, botox injections may become the standard of care for heart bypass and valve patients, but we’re not quite there yet.”

CDC admits 98 million Americans were given cancer virus via the polio shot

The CDC has admitted that between 1955–1963 over 98 million Americans received one or more doses of a polio shot which was contaminated with a cancer-causing virus called Simian vacuolating virus 40 (SV40).  The CDC quickly took down the page, along with Google, but the site was luckily cached and saved to symbolize this grand admission.

To further confirm this unbelievable admission, Assistant Professor of Pathology at Loyola University in Chicago Dr. Michele Carbone has been able to independently verify the presence of the SV40 virus in tissue and bone samples from patients who died during that era. He found that 33% of the samples with osteosarcoma bone cancers, 40% of other bone cancers, and 60% of the mesothelioma’s lung cancers all contained this obscure virus. This leaves the postulation that upwards of 10–30 million actually contracted and were adversely affected by this virus, to be deadly accurate.

How This Sixth-Grade Teacher’s Warning About the Internet Went Viral on Facebook.

Melissa Bour was concerned by what her students were posting on Facebook. Instead of lecturing, she created a viral post to demonstrate the power of social media.

may 2015 everday heroes melissa bour







At the end of 2014, Tulsa, Oklahoma, sixth-grade teacher Melissa Bour received a friend request on Facebook from one of her students. She didn’t accept the request, but a quick browse through the girl’s friends list revealed the names of dozens of kids from her classroom. Many of the students’ Facebook pages were completely public, meaning even strangers could trawl through the kids’ personal photos and messages.

“I saw middle fingers, students dressed inappropriately, and extremely foul language,” Melissa says. “It was disturbing.” When she brought up her discovery in class, the students were unfazed. So she created a post of her own.

With a bright green Sharpie, she wrote on a piece of paper in all caps, “Dear Facebook: My 12-year-old students think it is ‘no big deal’ that they are posting pictures of themselves … Please help me … [show them] how quickly their images can get around.” She put a picture of the letter on her Facebook page and asked people to share it.

In hours, it was shared 108,000 times across dozens of states and four countries. She deleted it after eight hours, but it continued to circulate. “I wanted to show them that it’s on the Internet forever,” she says.

As she explained the results of her experiment in class, the students’ “eyes got bigger and bigger,” she says. “It scared a few of them into deleting their pages completely,” she says. Others have removed inappropriate posts and utilized privacy settings to manage their pages.

Her intention wasn’t to scare them off social media but to push them to be mindful of what they post. Melissa says, “I tell them, ‘Just because everyone else is sharing doesn’t mean you have to.’ ”

Shining more light on solar panels

Solar panels are the beacon of renewable energy, yet they are not getting as much light as they could be. Joshua Pearce from Michigan Technological University and a team from Queen’s University in Canada have found a way to get more sun to shine on the panels and crank up the output by 30 percent or more. The work is published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Journal of Photovoltaics.

Shining more light on solar panels

“We’re looking at this from a systems perspective,” Pearce says, who is an associate professor of materials science and engineering and electrical and computing engineering. He explains that the research focused on the system rather than individual panels mostly because the current set up for ground-mounted solar panel arrays is “wasting space.”

The iconic flat-faced installed in large-scale utility solar farms are spaced apart to prevent shading. As the sun shines on a photovoltaic system, sending electricity into the grid, a fair amount of that potential energy is lost as the light hits the ground between rows of panels. The solution is simple, says Pearce: Fill the space with a reflector to bounce sunlight back onto the panels.

Reflectors, or planar concentrators, are not widely used, however.

“Panels are usually warranted for 20 to 30 years,” Pearce says, explaining the warranty only guarantees under certain circumstances. “If you’re putting more sunlight on the panel with a reflector, you will have greater temperature swings and non-uniform illumination, but simple optics makes wrong predictions on the effect.”

Because of the uncertainty with potential hot spots, using reflectors currently voids warranties for operators. Pearce and his co-authors, found a way to predict the effects using bi-directional reflectance function, or BDRF.

Although the phrase sounds like a nightmare from algebra class, it is actually a set of math equations that people are used to seeing. BDRF is often used in movies and videogames to create more life-like computer generated imagery (CGI) characters and scenes. This works because BDRF equations describe how light bounces off irregular surfaces and predicts how the light will scatter, creating indirect brightening and shadows.

For their solar panel work, Pearce’s team created a BDRF model that could predict how much sunlight would bounce off a reflector and where it would shine on the array. “Real surfaces do not necessarily behave like perfect mirrors, even if they look like it,” Pearce says. “So we applied [BDRF] models to these materials, which scatter the light instead.”

By showing how the reflectors scatter light, the researchers started to take the risk out of using reflectors with solar panels. But even better, the reflectors greatly increase solar system output.

“The mathematics behind this is complicated,” Pearce says, explaining that the team wanted to “validate the predictive model, so the solar industry could start using our equations to design better solar farms.”

So the team took their model to the field and ran an experiment on Canada’s Open Solar Outdoors Testing Field in Kingston, Ontario. The results shined much more light on the problem than predicted by others.

With standard panels, not tilted at the optimum angle for the latitude, the increase in efficiency reached 45 percent. Even with a panel optimally tilted, the efficiency increased by 18 percent and simulations show it could be pushed to 30 percent with better reflectors.

“We expend a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make solar panels as efficient as possible,” Pearce says. “We work so hard to get a fraction of a percent increase on the module level; double digit returns on the systems level was relatively easy.

Such a large increase of efficiency at the system level then could greatly change how solar panels are installed, and with the economic payback, it could even mean major retrofits for existing solar farms.

“Solar farms are already beating antiquated coal technology on cost all over the US,” Pearce says. “There are more solar workers than coal workers now as both in the U.S. and Canada, coal plants are being shut down for cheaper and more environmentally-friendly solar. This just offers to sweeten the economic returns for solar farm investors.”

“The main goal here was to hand the solar farm developers the data needed on a silver platter, which they can then use to modify their farms and crank up their output and revenue by about a third,” Pearce says.

Stem-Cell Dental Implants Grow New Teeth in Your Mouth.

Recently, the Journal of Dental Research has published a study showing that a new tissue regeneration technique can help regenerate teeth pearly whites published.

Dr. Jeremy Mao, Professor Edward V. Zegarellu for dentistry at the Columbia University Medical Center, said that a three-dimensional scaffold with growth factor has the potential to regenerate and press the anatomically correct teeth in just nine weeks after implantation.

The process was developed medical laboratory at the University of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative. In the process, the body’s own stem cells to the scaffold, which is made from natural materials. Once the scaffold seeded with stem cells of the tooth into the socket begins to develop, and merges with the surrounding tissue later.


Thus, the teeth do not grow in a petri dish, and the anatomically correct teeth regenerated by the use of one’s own body material. These dental implants offers a faster recovery time and in contrast to the implantation a regrowth process naturally.

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Alzheimer’s disease: Plaques impair memory formation during sleep.

slow waves in the brain

Slow waves in the brain spread out normally during sleep (left). This process is severely disrupted by the amyloid plaques (center). The disruption is reversed by administering a benzodiazepine (right). Credit: Marc Aurel Busche / TUM

Protein deposits associated with dementia influence brain activity during sleep –

Alzheimer’s patients frequently suffer from sleep disorders, mostly even before they become forgetful. Furthermore, it is known that sleep plays a very important role in memory formation. Researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now been able to show for the first time how the pathological changes in the brain act on the information-storing processes during sleep. Using animal models, they were able to decode the exact mechanism and alleviate the impairment with medicinal agents.

The sleep slow waves, also known as slow oscillations, which our brain generates at night, have a particular role in consolidating what we have learned and in shifting memories into long-term storage. These waves are formed via a network of nerve cells in the brain’s cortex, and then spread out into other parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus.

“These waves are a kind of signal through which these areas of the brain send mutual confirmation to say ‘I am ready, the exchange of information can go ahead’. Therefore, there is a high degree of coherence between very distant nerve cell networks during sleep,” explains Dr. Dr. Marc Aurel Busche, scientist at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at TUM University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar and TUM Institute of Neuroscience. Together with Prof. Dr. Arthur Konnerth from the Institute of Neuroscience, he headed the study which was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Disrupted spread of sleep waves in Alzheimer models

As the researchers discovered, this coherence process is disrupted in Alzheimer’s disease. In their study, they used mouse models with which the defects in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients can be simulated. The animals form the same protein deposits, known as β-amyloid plaques, which are also visible in human patients. The scientists were now able to show that these plaques directly impair the slow wave activity. “The slow oscillations do still occur, but they are no longer able to spread properly — as a result, the signal for the information cross-check is absent in the corresponding regions of the brain,” is how Marc Aurel Busche summarizes it.

The scientists also succeeded in decoding this defect at the molecular level: correct spread of the waves requires a precise balance to be maintained between the excitation and inhibition of nerve cells. In the Alzheimer models, this balance was disturbed by the protein deposits, so that inhibition was reduced.

Low doses of sleep-inducing drugs as possible therapy

Busche and his team used this knowledge to treat the defect with medication. One group of sleep-inducing drugs, the benzodiazepines, is known to boost inhibitory influences in the brain. If the scientists gave small amounts of this sleep medication to the mice (approximately one-tenth of the standard dose), the sleep slow waves were able to spread out correctly again. In subsequent behavioral experiments, they were able to demonstrate that learning performance had now improved as well.

For the researchers, of course, these results are just a first step on the way to a suitable treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. “But, these findings are of great interest for two reasons: firstly, mice and humans have the same sleep oscillations in the brain — the results are thus transferrable. Secondly, these waves can be recorded with a standard EEG monitor, so that any impairment may also be diagnosed at an early stage,” concludes the scientist.

7 Healthy Reasons to Eat Popcorn.

For a crunchy, salty treat, popcorn is the perfect healthy option. Here’s why popcorn is great for your health and waistline.


Best Ways You Can Treat, Prevent Hammertoe.

If the joint on one of your toes — usually the toe next to the big toe or the smallest toe — points upward rather than lying flat, you might have a hammertoe.

Woman hiding toes

The condition is actually a deformity that happens when one of the toe muscles becomes weak and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints. This pressure forces the toe to become misshapen and stick up at the joint.

Also, there’s frequently a corn or callus on top of the deformed toe. This outgrowth can cause pain when it rubs against the shoe.

“The term, hammertoe, is commonly used as a general classification for any condition where the toe muscle weakens, causing digital contracture, and resulting in deformity,” explains podiatrist Dina Stock, DPM.

But she adds that a digital contracture like this can actually be a hammertoe, claw toe or mallet toe, depending on which joints in the toe are contracted.

Clawtoes are bent at the middle and end joints, while hammertoes are bent at the middle joint only. When it’s mallet toe, the joint at the end of the toe buckles. The skin near the toenail tip develops a painful corn that can eventually result in an ulcer.

Doctors further categorize all forms of hammertoe based on whether the affected toe is flexible, semi-rigid or rigid. The more rigid the toe, the more pain it will cause.

Why it happens

Your shoes, your genetic predisposition, an underlying medical condition or all of these can make you susceptible to developing one of these deformities of the toes.

  • The genes your parents gave you. According to Dr. Stock, when it comes to genetics, the foot type you’re born with predisposes you to developing this type of joint deformity over a lifetime. “For many, a flat flexible foot leads to hammertoes as the foot tries to stabilize against a flattening arch. Those with high arches can also form hammertoes as the extensor tendons overpower the flexors.”
  • Those fashionable shoes. “Women tend to cram their feet into too-narrow, ill-fitting shoes with little to no arch support. That’s why we see more hammertoes in women than men,” explains podiatrist Georgeanne Botek, DPM. Pointy, high-heeled shoes put severe pressure on the toes and their joints, and they typically have little to no arch support.
  • Other ailments. Neuromuscular diseases can contribute to the development of hammertoe, too. People with diabetes can be at increased risk for complications from a hammertoe. “In diabetics, if a toe has a corn or other ulceration, it indicates there is too much pressure on the toes. In those with poor blood flow or neuropathy, these lesions can get infected and lead to the loss of a toe or foot unless shoes are modified,” Dr. Stock says.

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Shoes For Your Feet (Infographic)

Hammertoe prevention and treatment tips

According to Dr. Botek, surgery is the best way to permanently fix a hammertoe. The simple procedure straightens the toe, which makes shoes fit better. And your foot will look more attractive, as well.

But there are other fixes besides surgery. These include:

  • Wear sensible shoes. If you don’t want to have surgery to fix your hammertoe, Dr. Stock suggests using non-medicated padding along with proper shoes made with a wider and deeper toe box to accommodate your foot’s shape. “Ensuring your shoes have a good arch support can slow the progression of the condition as well,” she says.
  • Use a pumice stone. The corn or callus that forms on top of the hammertoe can cause discomfort when you wear shoes. “Treat the corn by using a file or pumice stone to reduce its size after a warm bath, then apply emollients to keep the area softened and pliable,” suggests Dr. Botek. She also recommends using silicone or moleskin padding on top of the area when wearing shoes.
  • Do foot exercises. Dr. Botek says she gives her patients exercises for their toes to keep them supple and strengthen the muscles that move them. “Theoretically, exercises like extending, then curling the toes, splaying the toes, and moving the toes individually may help prevent the digital contracture that causes hammertoe,” she explains.

Try these suggestions and see what works best for you

6 Reasons Fiber Is Healthy for Diabetes

Dietary fiber enhances your ability to metabolize blood glucose in a number of surprising ways. Here are some of the key benefits of a high-fiber diet for lowering diabetes risk.

Fiber directly improves insulin sensitivity

Fiber directly improves insulin sensitivity
A number of studies have found that eating more dietary fiber for a period of weeks or months is linked to a reduction in biomarkers for insulin resistance. This may be due in part to dietary fiber’s anti-inflammatory effects—high-fiber diets have been associated with reduced blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for systemic inflammation—and also to the fact that the short-chain fatty acids that fiber produces when it ferments in the intestinal tract tend to inhibit the breakdown of the body’s fat stores into free fatty acids. This breakdown of fat stores appears to play a major role in creating insulin resistance in the skeletal muscles.

Fiber slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream

Fiber slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream
Soluble fiber’s general effect of slowing down the digestive process means that the carbohydrates we eat take longer to be broken down into glucose. As a result, the release of glucose into the blood after eating tends to occur more slowly over a longer period of time following a high-fiber meal. This means that glucose doesn’t rise to as high a peak after eating, putting less stress on the glucose metabolism process.

Fiber signals the liver to manufacture less glucose

Fiber signals the liver to manufacture less glucose
The same fermentation process that signals the body to become more responsive to insulin also suppresses glucose production in the liver—countering the liver’s glucose overproduction that occurs as the result of insulin resistance.

Fiber makes you feel more full so it’s easier to eat less

 Fiber makes you feel more full so it’s easier to eat less
A number of studies have found that people who eat diets high in fiber feel more full after eating and also feel less hungry between meals. For starters, dietary fiber is simply bulkier than other nutrients. This causes the stomach to become more distended when you eat fiber, which sends appetite-suppressing signals to the brain. Soluble fiber also slows down the passage of food through the digestive tract, causing nutrients to be absorbed more slowly, which has been linked to an increase in digestion-related sensations of satiety. There is also evidence that the need to chew high-fiber foods more thoroughly than other food types contributes to a feeling of being full. Finally, fiber also appears to act directly on cells in the intestinal wall to trigger a hormonal response that may contribute to feelings of satiety.

In addition, foods high in fiber are generally lower in calories, period. Because research shows that we judge how much to eat based on the actual volume of food we consume, this effect should also tend to reduce the amount of calories you take in.

Dietary fiber alters your gut bacteria so that it consumes more calories

Dietary fiber alters your gut bacteria so that it consumes more calories
A high-fiber diet alters the makeup of the gut microbiome (the many billions of bacteria and other microbes that populate the intestinal tract) in a way that causes these microbes to consume more calories from the food that you eat, again allowing fewer calories to pass into the body.

A high-fiber diet makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight

A high-fiber diet makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight
The fact that a diet high in fiber results in increased satiety and an altered intestinal microbiome both suggest that a high-fiber diet can help prevent excess body fat. A number of studies have confirmed that the more fiber people eat, the lower their body weight and body fat tends to be. In addition, several short-term studies of overweight people on high-fiber diets have found that these diets tend to result in moderate weight loss. Losing even a relatively small amount of weight will improve insulin sensitivity and reduce type 2 diabetes risk.

3-D map of the brain: Software developed to augment our understanding of neuronal network.

3D brain model

Alessandra Angelucci (right), professor of ophthalmology & visual science, & Valerio Pascucci, computer science professor, in front of a computer model of a cluster of neurons scanned from a primate’s brain.

The animal brain is so complex, it would take a supercomputer and vast amounts of data to create a detailed 3-D model of the billions of neurons that power it.

But computer scientists and a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Utah have developed software that maps out a monkey’s brain and more easily creates a 3-D model, providing a more complete picture of how the brain is wired. Their process was announced this week at Neuroscience 2015, the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

“If you understand how things are wired in the normal brain, you can use this as a basis to understand how these connections are disrupted in the abnormal brain,” said Alessandra Angelucci, professor of ophthalmology and visual science at the University of Utah.

Getting a more accurate view of the brain’s network of neurons can help medical researchers understand how the brain’s connectivity is disrupted in mental and neurological conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and autism. For Angelucci, who works at the University of Utah’s Moran Eye Center, this also can aid research on such vision-related conditions as amblyopia, a disorder where one or both eyes lack visual acuity, and various forms of retinal degeneration. Angelucci has been using this software on a monkey’s brain because it most closely resembles the human brain.

In the past, researchers would have to scan thousands of thin layers of a primate’s brain through a microscope in order to get a view of its neurons. There was no practical way to make a 3-D model of the brain from these layers. For example, a high-resolution scan of a part of the brain the size of a penny would generate about two million images all totaling 30 terabytes (30,000 gigabytes) in files.

“It takes a lot of computer power because we now have to reconstruct a three-dimensional image out of this—thousands and thousands of images of tissue,” Angelucci said. “It was simply impossible because there is no computer or software that can handle that. It involves terabytes and terabytes of data.”

A team led by Valerio Pascucci, a professor in the University of Utah’s School of Computing and director of the university’s Center for Extreme Data Management Analysis and Visualization (CEDMAV) at the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute (SCI), has developed software that can create a 3-D model of an animal’s brain that is much quicker and requires less computer power and system memory.

The team took an existing software platform CEDMAV created called VISUS (Visualization Streams for Ultimate Scalability) and adapted it to assemble high-resolution images of different sections of the brain into one 3-D model that can be viewed at different angles. VISUS is used to visualize huge sets of data to create weather or energy simulations or high-resolution images of cities.

To create images of a brain, researchers first use a new method known as CLARITY that makes the brain tissue transparent by immersing it in special hydrogels. With the new software, hundreds of 3-D blocks of the brain are then scanned one at a time with a two-photon microscope, and scientists can view the scans immediately as opposed to waiting for them to download.

With the help of a researcher, the software then can more easily and quickly assemble the blocks into one complete picture of a region of the brain and create a 3-D model that allows the scientist to view areas and angles that couldn’t be seen as easily with 2-D images. In this way, researchers can map out the individual neurons and their long tails, known as axons.

“It really unleashes a different level of understanding of the data itself—being able to look at something fully in 3-D and to rotate and look at in front and in back,” Pascucci said. “We have seen over and over in many fields that this makes people understand more quickly and much better the spatial relationship among all the parts.”

With the software, researchers also can monitor the scanning of the brain—which can take weeks—and make sure that no bad images are created in the process, saving precious time.

Thanks to this new tool, medical researchers can now study and better understand how the brain’s connectivity is disrupted in abnormal conditions, for example what happens to the brain’s neural network resulting from retinal degeneration or conditions such as autism.

“We can view it, reconstruct it and understand its connectivity,” Angelucci said. “This software speeds up our ability to do that.”