New York, 23 Nov 2016 : Scientists have developed a new colour-coding tool that enables them to better track live blood stem cells clones that plays a role in blood disorders and cancers like leukemia.
People are born with a certain number of blood stem cells and rely on them for life. Various blood disorders and cancers are thought to arise when a mutant clone of an original blood stem cell starts to dominate. But what actually happens with blood stem cells over time has been hard to pin down.
“There’s significant interest in determining how a stem cell clone expands, what makes one clone dominant, and why that predisposes you to cancer and blood disorders,” said Leonard Zon, Director of the Stem Cell Research Programme.
In the study, the researchers used the new tool on a specially bred zebrafish called Zebrabow that has multiple copies of genes for red-blue-gene fluorescent protein scattered through its genome.
This technique yields, in theory, about 80 different colours based on the cell’s overall proportions of each fluorescent protein — each colour representing a different clone or variety of blood stem cell, the researchers said.
Thus, with the new technique, the researchers could isolate the cells by colour, and then look at what genetic factors are involved in their expansion.
Until now, this has been hard to analyse, since no one knew how many blood stem cells we start out with.
Based on the zebrafish data, the researchers estimate that blood stem cells make up about 20 per cent of all blood cell progenitors at the time they are formed.
The study provides a starting point for exploring, for example, why and how a particular blood stem cell clone may begin to expand as people age, posing a risk for leukemia, or how cancer chemotherapy can sometimes transform tumour cells as well as help improve bone marrow transplant for a variety of childhood and adult disorders.
The study appears in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
New skin-like sensor maps blood-oxygen levels in body
New York, 08 November 2018 : US engineers have developed a new lightweight, thin and flexible sensor that can map blood-oxygen levels over large areas of skin, tissue and organs, potentially giving doctors a new way to monitor healing wounds in real time.
Injuries cannot heal without a constant influx of blood’s key ingredient — oxygen. The device can track oxygenation of healing wounds in real time.
The sensor is made of organic electronics printed on bendable plastic that moulds to the contours of the body and can be placed anywhere on the skin.
It could potentially be used to map oxygenation of skin grafts, or to look through the skin to monitor oxygen levels in transplanted organs, the researchers said.
“All medical applications that use oxygen monitoring could benefit from a wearable sensor,” said Ana Claudia Arias, Professor at the University of California (UC)- Berkeley .
“Patients with diabetes, respiration diseases and even sleep apnoea could use a sensor that could be worn anywhere to monitor blood-oxygen levels 24/7,” she added.
Existing oximeters (the name for blood-oxygen sensors) use LEDs to shine red and near-infrared light through the skin, and work only on areas of the body that are partially transparent, like the fingertips or the earlobes. It can only measure blood-oxygen levels at a single point in the body.
“Thick regions of the body, such as the forehead, arms and legs, barely pass visible or near-infrared light, which makes measuring oxygenation at these locations really challenging,” the researchers said.
The new sensor, described in the journal PNAS, is built of an array of alternating red and near-infrared organic LEDs and organic photodiodes printed on a flexible material.
The team used the sensor to track the overall blood-oxygen levels on the forehead of a volunteer who breathed air with progressively lower concentrations of oxygen — similar to going up in altitude — and found that it matched those using a standard fingertip oximeter.
They also used the sensor to map blood-oxygen levels in a three-by-three grid on the forearm of a volunteer wearing a pressure cuff.
The Importance of Strength Training
Strength training as a form of exercise gets little to no attention compared to cardiovascular training.Most people know that walking or riding their bike is an essential part of maintaining good health; strength training is often acknowledged as a beneficial thing to do for optimal health, but not essential enough to regularly incorporate into their exercise routine.
Strength training, by definition, is a concerted effort to use resistance or weights to work a muscle group.Many people falsely believe that being active, such as standing and moving during a shift at work, or doing house work, is enough effort to keep muscles healthy and strong.Being active is beneficial to the body, but it takes a focused effort to work muscles by either using weights, or your own body weight, to get the benefits of strength training.
The benefits of strength training are much too important to omit when committing to a healthy lifestyle, and many of these benefits cannot be accomplished with cardiovascular training alone.A well-designed strength-training program can provide the following benefits…
Smokers with diabetes more at risk of early death : Study
New York, Nov 23 : Heavy smokers with diabetes may be at double the risk of facing an early death, a study led by an Indian-origin researcher has found.
Diabetes is a chronic illness in which there are high levels of glucose in the blood. People with diabetes may also be at risk for numerous other health complications.
“The study found that diabetes doubles the risk for all-cause mortality and non-lung cancer mortality among heavy smokers,” said Kavita Garg, Professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, in the US.
In the study, nearly 13 per cent of patients with diabetes died as compared to 6.8 per cent of patients without diabetes.
Participants with diabetes tended to be older, reported more pack-years of smoking, and had a higher BMI than those without diabetes.
In addition, the study also found that women with diabetes have an increased risk of lung-cancer mortality.
However, the same effect was not found in men, the researchers observed.
For the study, Garg and colleagues conducted an analysis on 53,454 participants from US on the relative risk for overall mortality, lung cancer mortality, and non-lung cancer mortality associated with diabetes.
Over the course of the study, there were 3,936 total deaths, including 1,021 from lung cancer and 826 from non-lung cancers.
Garg emphasised that smokers should undergo lung cancer screening as well control their diabetes.
“Patients have to take care of their diabetes to maximise the benefit of CT screening for lung cancer. It truly makes a magnitude of difference in mortality risk,” Garg noted.
The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, US
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