Chinese Researcher Claims First Gene-Edited Babies

By Christina Larsen – Re-Blogged From APNews

HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls born this month whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life.

If true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics.

A U.S. scientist said he took part in the work in China, but this kind of gene editing is banned in the United States because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes.

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Drug Combination Grows Cells to Control Diabetes

By Health Day – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

People with diabetes often don’t have enough insulin-producing beta cells to control their blood sugar, but a combination of two novel drugs may coax the body into making more of these vital cells, an early study finds.

Together, the drugs caused beta cells to reproduce at a rate of about 5 percent to 8 percent a day, according to the researchers. Work has only been done in the lab and in rodents, and a major hurdle remains before this treatment could be tried in humans: researchers need to develop a targeted delivery system.

“We’re at a stage where we have nuclear warheads but no guided missiles. We can’t just release the treatment because we don’t want to affect other cells,” explained study senior author Dr. Andrew Stewart. He’s the director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute in New York City.

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Just 6 Months of Walking May Boost Aging Brains

By Health Day – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Walking and other types of moderate exercise might help turn back the clock for older adults who are losing their mental sharpness, a new clinical trial finds.

The study focused on older adults who had milder problems with memory and thinking skills. The researchers found that six months of moderate exercise – walking or pedaling a stationary bike – turned some of those issues around.

Specifically, exercisers saw improvements in their executive function – the brain’s ability to pay attention, regulate behavior, get organized and achieve goals. And those who also made some healthy diet changes, including eating more fruits and vegetables, showed somewhat bigger gains.

The effect was equivalent to shaving about nine years from their brain age, said lead researcher James Blumenthal, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, N.C.

Bionic Eye to Aid the Blind Ready for Human Trials

By Eric Mack – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Biomedical engineering is closing in on a device that can help the blind see, according to the U.K.’s Daily Star.

A bionic eye is set to be implanted into humans for the first time, as the University of Sydney, Australia, seeks human trials before a potential release of the “Phoenix 99 Bionic Eye.”

austrailian prime minister kevin rudd looks at the prototype for a bionic eye with includes a pair of glasses.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd inspects a prototype bionic eye which will deliver improved quality of life for patients suffering from degenerative vision loss. (WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

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Exercise After Heart Attack May Improve Survival

By Health Day – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Exercising after a heart attack, even a long walk around the neighborhood, can be frightening for survivors. But those fears may be eased by new research that found regular physical activity could help keep them alive.

Many heart attack survivors initially worry that exercise or any type of prolonged activity that increases their heart rate could strain their recovering heart. But a new Swedish study published Dec. 11 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that even a low level of physical activity within the first year of a heart attack was enough to reduce the odds of dying in the immediate years that followed.

Excess Winter Deaths in England and Wales Highest Since 1976

[Excess Deaths are calculated as that period’s difference from the yearly average. If there were 12,000 deaths in a typical year, or 1000 per month, and in December there were 2500, then there were 2500 – 1000 = 1500 ‘Excess Deaths’ in that December. -Bob]

By Dennis Campbell – Re-Blogged From The Guardian

Call for more NHS resources as elderly people and women among most vulnerable

Snow in Derbyshire
Snow in Derbyshire last December. The temperatures last winter are thought to have been partly to blame for the excess deaths. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

There were 50,100 excess deaths in England and Wales last winter, when there was a prolonged spell of extreme cold, making it the highest number since 1976, figures have shown.

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Can We Cheat Aging?

By Diego Arguedaz Ortiz, Beth Sagar Fenton and Helena Merriman – Re-Blogged From BBC

All around the world, scientists are trying to beat the most debilitating condition known to humans: ageing. Here is how worms and 3D printers can help.

As she headed to her lab one sunny Texan morning, molecular biologist Meng Wang couldn’t yet guess what would be waiting for her when she arrived: tens of thousands of worms, wriggling around in different boxes. As she peered into each box, slowly it dawned on her. What she saw could cure the most debilitating condition known to humanity: ageing.

Diseases related to ageing – like cancer, rheumatism and Alzheimer’s – kill 100,000 people every day around the world. But a growing number of scientists say it doesn’t have to be this way.