Curcumin could help fight against Alzheimer's disease

Curcumin could help fight against Alzheimer's disease

Vitamin D and curcumin, a chemical element found in turmeric, may prove useful in preventing and treating Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the July edition of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

A team of researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California at Riverside have discovered that the combination of the two substances stimulates the immune system against the spread of amyloid plaques in the brain, which is thought to that they cause dementia in Alzheimer's patients. "We hope that vitamin D3 and curcumin, two nutrients found in nature, offer new opportunities for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease," he said. Dr. Milan Fiala, lead author of the study and researcher at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Synthetic curcumin has been found to be more effective than natural curcumin, because it is absorbed more quickly, and breaks down more slowly than natural curcumin, says the study.

Many studies show that supplemental curcumin (a turmeric-based diet does not provide enough of the substance) is anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, and could reduce the production of amyloid plaques.

Vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D, is well known for its beneficial role on the bones and the immune system. It comes mainly from the sun, and is synthesized through the skin.

"Since vitamin D and curcumin work differently with the immune system, we may discover that a combination of the two, or each taken separately, may be more effective, depending on the patient," said Milan Fiala, stating moreover more research needs to be done before any dosage can be advocated.

Get Paid to Socialize

Towards an anti-cocaine vaccine.

Towards an anti-cocaine vaccine

Cocaine addiction could be countered by a simple vaccine?

US researchers say the vaccine they have created is causing cocaine addicts to abandon their drug use. In fact, the injected substance increases the level of antibodies against the drug, which makes it inactive before it reaches the brain and produces its euphoric effects.

Teams from Yale University and Baylor College come to this conclusion after six months of clinical trial.

The results show that 38% of vaccinated cocaine addicts produce a sufficient level of antibodies to block the effects of the drug. As a result, cocaine use has plummeted, with some consumers ceasing to take any.

A downside however: the effects have not persisted for more than two months.

The authors therefore believe that optimal treatment would require repeated vaccinations to maintain adequate antibody levels.

The lead author of the study, Thomas Kosten, has been developing a cocaine vaccine for 15 years.

"Fifteen years ago, everyone said that it was impossible to produce antibodies against small molecules like this one. Dr. Thomas Kosten

According to the International Narcotics Control Board, cocaine is the second most commonly used drug in North America, accounting for 2.3 million users in the United States alone.

Get Paid to Socialize

Saturated fatty acids increase appetite for several days

Saturated fatty acids increase appetite for several days

The leptin hormone and insulin play key roles in the mechanisms of appetite and food intake. In healthy people, leptin, which is secreted by adipose tissue, cancels the feeling of hunger and insulin, which is at its highest when blood glucose increases after a meal, causes the brain to decrease the taste of food .

A study, published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, shows that saturated fat interferes with the ability of the brain to respond appropriately to these signals.

Stephen Benoit, a researcher in behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati, and his colleagues found that after only three days of a diet high in saturated fat (found, for example, in beef and cheese), Rodent brain became resistant to leptin and insulin. Unsaturated fats, such as those contained in olive oil, did not trigger such resistance.

As a result of this resistance, a meal high in saturated fat increases appetite. "Taking leave of a healthy diet by eating fast food can have consequences that last a few days, even after you have resumed the healthy diet," says Benoit.

Feeling leptin and insulin is like keeping an eye on the state of nutrients in the body, says Gary Schwartz, a neuroscience researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who is not involved in this research . "If that eye goes blind because too many nutrients are provided, it can not respond. (...) A vicious cycle of metabolic problems and weight gain can result.

Why does the body react like this? A possible explanation advanced by the researchers, inspired by an evolutionary approach, is related to the mechanisms involved in hunger. When a person is hungry, the body starts using its energy reserves. As a result, the blood becomes fat-fed, just as it does in the case of obesity and overeating. Cautious, the brain would interpret fat intake as a sign of starvation. "During evolution, humans have been facing a lack of calories and starvation much more than we have ever faced with an overabundance of calories," says William Banks of the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. .

But, Benoit notes, a neurological response "that was helpful at some point in history is no longer useful when there is a McDonald's and a Taco Bell on the way home." So, in the battle against empty calories and obesity, "sticking to a Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil and vegetables can help thwart the obsolete physiology of our brain."

Get Paid to Socialize

New gene therapy successfully tested against Parkinson's.

New gene therapy successfully tested against Parkinson's

Injection of three genes in the brain helps revive dopamine production and improve the motor skills of people with Parkinson's disease, according to French researchers.

By injecting three genes into the brain, French and British researchers have been successful in improving the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in macaque monkeys.

This technique has also been tested on some patients with advanced forms of neurodegenerative disease, with encouraging results, according to Prof. Stéphane Palfi, neurosurgeon at Henri-Mondor Hospital in Créteil and researcher at MIRCen in Fontenay-aux- Roses (Molecular Imaging Research Center, CEA / CNRS).

Parkinson's disease is characterized by a degeneration of neurons producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential for movement. Patients suffer from stiffness, tremors, difficulty initiating gestures ... The administration of L-dopa, a precursor of dopamine, corrects these symptoms but eventually leads to uncontrolled movements. Current research therefore aims to develop a more regular and constant intake of dopamine. One of the ways is to restore this production in the dark substance, the dopamine manufacturing site in the brain.

For this, the team of Stéphane Palfi and Béchir Jarraya has developed a gene therapy with three essential genes for the synthesis of dopamine. These genes were injected into the brain using a viral vector, an equine lentivirus made harmless. The product was developed by the British company Oxford Biomedica.

MIRCen researchers first inserted these genes into macaque monkeys whose parkinsonism is caused by the injection of a toxin. The researchers found that movement control improved rapidly and sustainably over the 44 months of follow-up, without the side effects seen with prolonged treatment with L-dopa.

In a so-called preclinical trial, some patients received the same therapy at Henri-Mondor Hospital: one year later, their motor skills improved, the researchers underline, and the treatment is well tolerated. A first phase of clinical trial could follow soon.

Two years ago, a British team published the positive results of the first clinical trial of gene therapy against Parkinson's disease, exploring a different pathway: the stimulation of the synthesis of Gaba, another neurotransmitter involved in movement.

The results of the MIRCen team are published this week in a new scientific journal of the Science group, called Science Translational Medicine. Translational medicine is based on a better synergy and more multidisciplinary so that the fundamental results reach the patients faster.

Get Paid to Socialize

Gene therapy against congenital blindness: another good result.

Gene therapy against congenital blindness: another good result!

A new victory has just been won against amaurosis Congenital Leber, which most often leads to complete blindness in adulthood. Last year, four people had recovered some of their vision. Today, the same genetic technique has proven itself by demonstrating that it works much better in children.

9-year-old Corey Haas is now able to ride a bike, and a video shows him walking along a signposted path full of obstacles. Yet, Corey was born with one of the forms of Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (or LCA, its English name). This disease, which affects the photoreceptors, causes a big deficit of vision at birth which evolves most often in a total blindness towards forty years. We know today that the cause is genetic. One of the genes needed to synthesize a photoreceptor works poorly. Several genes are involved and so there are as many forms of this disease (at least 11 currently known).

Corey is suffering from the so-called LCA2 form. At home, it is the RPE65 gene that hurts its work whereas it should induce the synthesis of rhodopsin, one of the pigments of the retina, present in the sticks. These cells end up, over the years, by dying.

For years, researchers have been exploring the path of gene therapy to combat several forms of genetic blindness, including Leber's amaurosis. In 2006, a team from Inserm Nantes managed to partially restore the sight to dogs suffering from this disease (also due to a mutation of the RPE65 gene). In April 2008, a big first was announced in humans. Two independent teams, in the United States (University of Pennsylvania) and the United Kingdom (University College, London), improved the vision of four people with ACL2 out of the eight who received treatment.

In both cases, the method consists in integrating an RPE65 gene in a harmless adenovirus introduced into the retina, so that it then enters the photosensitive cells. This is the same way the Pennsylvania team used again today, announcing excellent results today.

Two years without side effects

Two years ago, Albert Maguire, Jean Bennet and their colleagues treated 12 patients, aged 8 to 44, including four children, the oldest being 11 years old. The results, which have just been published in The Lancet, show that in all cases, vision has improved significantly, according to experimental measurements and according to subjective criteria. Above all, the study shows what had already been noted in dogs, namely that the method gives much better results in the young.

The injection of the RPE65 gene, in fact, will have even more effects as the target cells still alive are more numerous. As the disease progressively leads to the death of these cells, the impact of treatment diminishes with age. The researchers note that the youngest of the 8-year-old treated children regained a sensitivity to light identical to that of a normal child of the same age. The positive effects are felt in the first months after treatment and have continued during the two years of the study, without undesirable side effects.

The gene therapy has just again scored points, at least against the congenital amaurosis of Leber. Other recent studies in mice show good results for another disease, retinitis pigmentosa and color vision have been restored in squirrel monkeys. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, starting with clinical trials on a larger number of patients.

Get Paid to Socialize

Gene therapy saves two children from adrenoleukodystrophy.

Gene therapy saves two children from adrenoleukodystrophy

Two children with adrenoleukodystrophy have been saved from certain death thanks to gene therapy ... and an inactivated derivative of the AIDS virus!

Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a rare but deadly genetic disease. It leads to the progressive destruction of the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain), leading to loss of cognitive and motor functions and death. Bone marrow transplantation is not enough: donors are too rare and the risk of complications is high.

A new treatment has just been tested on two children, at the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul hospital in Paris, by French research teams associating Inserm, the Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris and the Université Paris- Descartes. Stem cells from the bone marrow of small patients were removed, modified in the laboratory and then reinjected into the patients.

A vector - a sort of vehicle carrying genetic information - derived from the AIDS virus was associated with it. The AIDS virus is indeed the only one able to penetrate into the nucleus of cells that do not divide: stem cells and neurons. These, reached by the ALD, thus received the therapeutic gene created by the researchers. No side effects have been observed so far.

This world first offers treatment perspectives for all leukodystrophies, as well as for other more frequent diseases (hemophilia, Parkinson ...). The European Association Against Leukodystrophies (ELA) is pleased with this result and the resulting perspectives. It intends to continue to support research, and thus extend testing to the whole of Europe.

Get Paid to Socialize

NicVAX ®, the next vaccine to stop smoking?

NicVAX ®, the next vaccine to stop smoking?

NicVAX ® is a vaccine candidate conjugate still experimental for the treatment of Nicotine dependence and relapse prevention.

NicVAX® tackles the "market" of smoking, the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. By affecting 1.2 billion smokers worldwide, smoking is responsible for 5.4 million deaths a year. Relapse remains a considerable challenge for smokers and the relapse rate reaches 90% in the year following the cessation.

The vaccine is designed to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies that bind to nicotine. A nicotine molecule attached to an antibody is too big to cross the blood-brain barrier. As a result, NicVAX blocks prevent nicotine from reaching its receptors in the brain and at the same time prevents the sensation of pleasure experienced by smokers. Early clinical trials show that NicVAX has the ability to prevent nicotine from reaching the brain and may help quit smoking. Because the body's immune system can be stimulated to produce long-lasting antibodies, Nabi believes that the candidate vaccine could also be effective in preventing relapse.

Get Paid to Socialize

Kidney cancer: cryotherapy rather than ablation.

Kidney cancer: cryotherapy rather than ablation

A team at Rangueil University Hospital in Toulouse has successfully treated by percutaneous cryotherapy five patients with kidney cancer. This innovative and gentle technique destroys diseased tissue by applying extreme cold to the tumor.

After the one in Strasbourg where 20 interventions have already been performed, the University Hospital of Toulouse is among the first centers to have this technique of cryotherapy, whose main advantage is to avoid the use of kidney removal. Thus the renal function is then preserved.

Since the 1970s, the incidence of kidney cancer has been increasing. Currently, in France, 8,500 new cases are diagnosed each year.

While the reference treatment was, until recently, the complete removal of the tumor-bearing kidney, the development of new techniques can improve patient survival and preserve the organ. This is particularly the case of partial nephrectomy (partial removal of the kidney) or lumpectomy (removal of the single tumor).

As for cryotherapy, "it is a real added value in the management of patients with renal tumors," said Toulouse Hospitals. The intervention is less traumatic, the follow-up simpler and the duration of hospitalization shorter.

Get Paid to Socialize

Mozart's music helps premature babies to grow.

Mozart's music helps premature babies to grow

Mozart is he good for babies?

After having the Austrian composer of the eighteenth century listen to 20 premature babies, Israeli doctors realized that his music could help them grow faster.

Doctors at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv measured the energy costs of 20 babies born prematurely during the Mozart broadcast in their incubator. They compared this figure to the amount of energy spent without music. The scientists did not have a control group listening to any music.

According to the results of their study, newborns spent less energy when Mozart was released, which should allow them to grow faster. "By listening to this precise music, a baby can have a lower energy expenditure and we can hope that it will gain more weight than without music," said Dr. Ronit Lubetzky, one of the authors of the study, published in the latest issue of the medical journal "Pediatrics".

The researchers started from a controversial study in 1993 that claimed college students improved their IQ by listening to Mozart for ten minutes. Since then, studies have responded that classical music has no effect on IQ.

In their article, Israeli doctors note that the repetition of melody in Mozart's compositions is less common among other classical composers. This phenomenon may explain the positive effects of his music.

Mozart was broadcast for half an hour to each of the 20 babies and the amount of energy they were spending was simultaneously measured. The next day she was recorded, but without music. The doctors then realized that their energy expenses were at least 10 percent lower with the composer. They did not measure their weight gain, but assumed that the results could result in faster weight gain.

"They are probably quieter when they listen to music or have fewer stress hormones. All of this results in slower breathing and heartbeat, "said Dr. Lubetzky.

Get Paid to Socialize

Why does the flu kill?

Why does the flu kill?

Brazilian researchers have analyzed the results of the first autopsies of patients who died as a result of Infection with the H1N1 flu virus.

The researchers examined 21 patients who died in São Paulo in July and August 2009 and in whom the diagnosis of H1N1 flu was confirmed by biological analyzes. The results of their study will be published in the January 1 issue of the Journal of the American Thoracic Society of Respiratory Medicine and Critical Care.

Most of the patients examined by the doctors were between 30 and 59 years old. Three-quarters (76 percent) of them had underlying conditions such as heart disease or lung cancer, but as noted by practitioners since the beginning of the epidemic, for a quarter of the patients no other pathology exists. has been found. All presented a progressive and rapidly fatal form of the disease.

While previous data have shown that most patients with nonfatal infection have fever, cough and body aches (myalgia), Dr. Mauad, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of São Paulo Paulo, Brazil, noted that "the majority of patients with a lethal form of the disease had difficulty breathing (dyspnea), fever, but little or no muscle pain. "

All patients died from aggravated pulmonary lesions but there were three distinct patterns of lesions: "All patients have an image of acute lung injury, in some patients this is the predominant pattern, for some lung involvement is associated with necrotizing bronchiolitis while in others there is a bleeding tendency, "says Dr. Mauad.

"Patients with necrotizing bronchiolitis are more likely to have bacterial co-infection. Patients with heart disease and cancer are more likely to have a bleeding disorder. It is important to keep in mind that patients with underlying medical conditions should be properly monitored as they are at higher risk of developing severe H1N1 infection, "he adds.

The researchers also found evidence of a "cytokine storm," an aberrant immune response in the lungs of some individuals, which is almost certainly implicated in the pathogenesis of these fatal cases. It is possible that the virus entering the lungs triggers a disproportionate inflammatory response that damages lung tissue.

Further research is needed to understand precisely how and why some patients succumb to fatal progression when infected with H1N1. These early works establish a foundation by defining the histological structures associated with a deadly infection.

Get Paid to Socialize