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Jun 29
Genetic links to kidney disease, kidney failure identified
Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) have identified genetic links to kidney disease and kidney failure.

The scientists have described their research in two presentations at this week's 70th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes
Association, June 25-29, in Orlando, Florida.

One presentation describes a DNA study of American Indians in Arizona, in which the research tea, discovered a genetic biomarker with a significant association to kidney failure.

The study showed "the strongest evidence" for association with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, in marker rs13315275, and also found evidence of some lesser associations between ESRD and four other markers.

"This study could someday lead to better treatment options for those patients suffering from diabetic kidney disease. We are conducting ongoing studies to further investigate these markers, and potentially what they might mean for the development of new therapeutics," said Dr. Johanna DiStefano, Director of TGen's Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Division, and lead author of the study's abstract.

All five biomarkers are genetic variants of the gene SUCNR1, which is located in a chromosomal region of the human genome identified as 3q24-q27. This region has been linked to diabetic nephropathy (DM), or diabetic kidney disease, in previous studies.

SUCNR1 is a receptor gene that acts on succinate in the kidneys to mediate the rennin-angiotensin system (RAS), a hormone system that helps control the body's blood pressure and fluid balance. High blood pressure can damage the heart, kidneys and exacerbate the harmful effects of diabetes.

Past studies have shown that diabetes is relatively high among Arizona's Native American communities.

In another TGen study, researchers initiated an investigation into the ways that the PVT1 gene impacts development of diabetic kidney disease.

Previous studies have shown an association between PVT1 and kidney failure in patients with diabetes, both autoimmune (type 1) and that most commonly caused by excessive weight, poor diet and lack of exercise (type 2).

In the new study, researchers found that PVT1 was expressed in mesangial cells, which are specialized cells around blood vessels in the kidneys, at a rate up to five times higher in conditions of high glucose (high blood sugar), compared to normal glucose levels. High blood sugar is a signature symptom of diabetes.

Jun 29
Living near a road is bad for your health
A new study has revealed that children living within 500m of a major road or freeway are more prone to developing asthma, while adults face an increased likelihood of lung and heart-related illnesses.

The biggest international study on vehicle air pollution and health research has found that traffic pollution within a 500m radius of a major road was likely to aggravate asthma in children, start new asthma cases across all ages, impair lung function in adults and could cause cardiovascular illness and death.

The US Health Effects Institute analysed around 700 worldwide health-pollution studies, and found that there was a clear health risk for those living near arterial roads or highways.

"Reports like this... show that air pollution does impact on human health and provides evidence to support actions to further reduce air pollution," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Stuart McConnell Environment Protection Authority Victoria director as saying.

Jun 28
Scientists invent first male contraceptive pill
Until now all attempts to develop a male pill have failed with scientists working on a contraceptive jab for men given by doctors.

But researchers in Israel have finally been able to create a oral pill that deactivates sperm before they reach the womb.

And theyve developed a version that means it only needs to be to be taken once every three months.

The breakthrough pill could be available in as little as three years, according to the scientist behind the discovery.

Unlike the jab form of the male pill it doesnt use a combination of the male hormone testosterone and the female hormone progesterone to block pregnancy.

The scientist behind the male pill discovery has developed a tablet that removes a vital protein in sperm that is required for a woman to conceive.

So while sperm still get through to the uterus they are unable to fertilise an egg.

Using this approach, researchers believe they have a pill that is 100 pc effective at stopping pregnancy.

Not only is it long lasting but it also has other pluses. There are no side effects as suffered by women who take the contraceptive pill.

Men on the male equivalent hormone jabs, which are still undergoing trials report feelings of moodiness, depression and loss of sex drive.

Professor of Haim Breitbart of Israel's Bar-Ilan University, who has helped develop the pill said: Men dont cope well with side effects and having side effects would probably put many off wanting to take a pill. Weve had none of those problems with our pill.

What we found is that by treating the mice with our molecule we can get sterility for a long period of time -in the lower dose, about one month, and in the higher dose we found three months of sterility.

The mice behaved nicely, They ate and had sex. All I can say is that we couldn't see any behavioural side-effects - all their sex behaviour was retained, which is a very important consideration for men. Human trials of the pill are due to start next year.

A big drawback against men being in control of fertility is the fear they would forget to take a pill.

Polls have repeatedly shown wives and partners do not trust their men to remember to pop a pill every day.

But now that problem has been solved. The new pill can be taken either once a month or once every three months.

Professor Breitbart said: "I think most women would trust their man to remember once a month or once a quarter.

Breitbarts pill jams the sperm's chemical machinery that allows it to create a pregnancy. So while the sperm reaches the womb it dies away unable to fertilise the egg.

He said: We looked at a number of compounds that have no effect on male sex drive, but succeed in impairing the reproductive ability of the sperm.

Jun 28
Study uncovers new diabetes genes
Twelve new genes linked with type 2 diabetes have been found in a study into the differences in people's DNA and their risk of having the condition.

A consortium including Edinburgh University scientists have identified "important clues to the biological basis of type 2 diabetes".

It is hoped the findings will lead to better ways of treating the condition.

The genes tend to be involved in working cells producing insulin, which controls levels of glucose in blood.

The 12 new genes brings the total number linked with type 2 diabetes to 38.

The study was led by researchers at Oxford University and forms part of the Wellcome Trust case control consortium.

The group of researchers, from across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada, compared the DNA of more than 8,000 people with type 2 diabetes with almost 40,000 people without the condition.

They then checked the genetic variations they found in another group including over 34,000 people with diabetes and almost 60,000 controls.

Dr Jim Wilson, of Edinburgh University, said: "One very interesting finding is that the diabetes susceptibility genes also contain variants that increase the risk of unrelated diseases, including skin and prostate cancer, coronary heart disease and high cholesterol.

"This implies that different regulation of these genes can lead to many different diseases."

Professor Mark McCarthy of Oxford University, said: "Gradually we are piecing together clues about why some people get diabetes and others don't, with the potential for developing better treatments and preventing onset of diabetes in the future.

"The challenge will be to turn these genetic findings into better ways of treating and preventing the condition."

Jun 26
Drinking wine could protect your eyes
Researchers have found that a substance found in grapes and other fruits could protect blood vessels in the eye being damaged by old age.

It is effective because the compound, known as resveratrol, stops the blood vessels from being damaged.

The substance, which has been linked to anti-ageing and cancer protection in the past, is believed to work because it protects against abnormal angiogenesis - the formation of damaged or mutated blood vessels.

This condition is linked to cancer, heart disease and eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

Dr Rajendra Apte, who carried out the research at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, said the study should have a "substantial impact" on our understanding of how resveratrol works.

He said it was able to "demonstrate that resveratrol, a naturally occurring compound, can directly inhibit the development of abnormal blood vessels both within and outside the eye".

This he said could lead to new treatments.

Resveratrol is a natural compound that is produced in a variety of plants to prevent bacterial and fungal infections.

It is found in particularly high levels in grape skin (and consequently red wine), and at lower levels in blueberries, peanuts, and other plants.

Various studies have shown that resveratrol can decrease the effects of ageing and act as an anti-cancer agent.

Red wine has also received a lot of attention lately for its purported health benefits.

Along with reducing stroke, moderate wine consumption has been linked to a lowered incidence of cardiovascular disease - the so-called French paradox.

Despite diets high in butter, cheese and other saturated fats, the French have a relatively low incidence of cardiovascular disease, which some have attributed to the regular drinking of red wine.

This study published in The American Journal of Pathology shows why this works.

Jun 25
Sachin to join campaign against drugs
Starting Saturday, master batsman Sachin Tendulkar will promote a no-drugs campaign for the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The campaign, mostly targeted at those in the 18-30 age group, will feature the star cricketer advising people to "Think health, not drugs".

NCB zonal director Yashodhan Wanage said, "Tendulkar is a youth icon; he epitomises health and fitness, which is the theme of our campaign. He has agreed to be part of the campaign and accordingly, his posters with anti-drug messages will be put up across the city."

The campaign follows a United Nations resolution that directed anti-drug enforcement agencies across the globe to observe and promote June 26 as the International Day Against Drug Abuse.

Wanage said many cases had shown youngsters were easy targets for psychotropic substances. "The reasons have been different; peer pressure, lifestyle, or bad influence, the cases are on the rise. It is very important to curb the menace of drug addiction at a very young age."

The bureau is the apex coordinating agency, which also functions as an enforcement agency through its field units located across the country. The zonal units collect and analyse data related to seizures of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, study trends, modus operandi, collect and disseminate intelligence and work in close cooperation with the Customs, police and other law enforcement agencies.

Wanage said, "We specifically chose Tendulkar as he is the person whom the world looks up as a role model. We hope youngsters inculcate his qualities of hard work, and commitment in keeping away from drugs and psychotropic substances and lead a happy and peaceful life."

Tendulkar has been off late been associated with various public awareness campaigns like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's Save Water campaign. He was also made honorary group captain of the Indian Air Force.

Jun 24
A jab to cure allergies in four years!
Scientists have developed a "one -size-fits-all" jab to cure allergies, including hay fever and asthma, which they claim would be available in the market in just four years' time.

A team, which developed the jab, claims the injection would be the "holy grail" of vaccines as a single dose would protect against a number of allergies and ward off reactions to cat fur, dust and peanuts.

Dr. Wolfgang Renner, from Cytos Biotechnology, which developed the jab, said, "We think it is a one-size-fits-all mechanism. We are very excited about it."

Recent trials showed the jab was as effective as taking steroids when used to fight asthma. It found that when comparing 63 asthma sufferers who were given the jab or a fake drug over two or three months, the new vaccine slashed asthma attacks by a third, the 'Daily Express' reported.

In another trial, the drug - CYT003-QbG10 - was given as a jab once a week for six weeks. The scientists found this cut runny noses and weepy eyes - symptoms caused by an allergic reaction to house dust mites and reliance on other medicines -- by 39 per cent.

The jab also boosted quality of life by 42 per cent, according to Dr. Renner who said larger trials could start next year and the vaccine could be on sale within four years.

Experts have welcomed the jab.

An Allergy UK spokesman said, "It does sound a very promising treatment, giving hope for those with severe asthma/allergy symptoms for whom the usual treatments aren't enough but there is still a long way to go before it will be available."

Leanne Metcalfe, director of research for Asthma UK, added, "We are excited about the potential of this vaccine to make a real difference."

Jun 24
High BP, Obesity among 10 factors Causing Stroke
Top 10 factors which cause stroke were identified and brought to light by a group of researchers by an international medical team. It was confirmed that over 90% of stroke attacks had links to these top 10 factors. Changing ones lifestyle they say can help prevent stroke from occurring. Stroke occurs when the blood flow going to the brain is obstructed or blocked. If diagnosed and treated within 4- 6 hours this disease can be prove less fatal. But when not treated in time it can cause death or permanent immobility of the limps.

This disease is seen hugely in Asian and African countries. The western countries are also fast catching up and the cause is blamed on obesity, smoking and life style changes.

It is said that smokers risk towards stroke is doubled when compared to non-smokers. someone with high BP has 2.6 times more chances of getting stroke than normal people. The study was conducted on 3,000 stroke patients from around 22 countries. This is definitely a break through research as it exposes the uniformity in the patients health and life style conditions which were identified as factors behind stroke.

The research team from the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University situated in Hamilton, was head by Salim Yusuf. They took into consideration 2 types of strokes namely, hemorrhagic stroke( caused by rupture in blood vessels) and ischemic stroke(blood clots in brain). Dr. Yusuf says that the cause for stroke largely resemble the causes for heart attack.

some of the countries covered for this research are Argentina, Canada, China, Australia, Brazil,India, Iran, Malaysia, Germany etc.

Jun 23
Sunlight helps fight against Influenza
Getting more Sunlight is an ultimate source of vitamin D into the body that reduces the risk of respiratory illness like common cold or influenza, says a new study.

The study conducted by researchers at the Yale University claims that people who are more exposed to Sun never lack vitamin D and the chances are less to fall in respiratory ailments or influenza.

The research led by Dr. Sabetta was conducted on 198 healthy adults monitoring their vitamin D levels for about six months. The study found that 18 people with high level of vitamin D are developing less flu-like symptoms during winter season. Whereas the rest of the people are falling sick frequently having low level of Vitamin D.

The study concluded with a finding that the risk of allergy also reduced 50 percent having vitamin D level of 38. Thus, sunlight is the best source of getting Vitamin D into body, the study suggests.

Jun 22
Cadila gets permission for anti diabetic molecule clinical trial
Pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadila said the company has received permission from the drug controller for phase I clinical trial of its anti-diabetic molecule.

Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the clinical trial of molecule Zyogi, a novel Glucagon Like Peptide-1 (GLP -1) agonist, the Ahmedabad-based company said in a statement.

GLP-I agonists are used to treat people with type II diabetes who have not been able to control their blood sugar levels with oral medicines. It is an injectible which acts like the natural hormones in the body that lowers blood sugar.

However, the company said, Zyogi would represent a next generation GLP-1 agents as it could be taken orally. The drug demonstrated beneficial effects in preclinical models on glucose reduction, HbA1c reduction and showed an added benefit of weight loss, it added.

Zydus Cadila Chairman and Managing Director Pankaj R Patel said, 'This novel molecule would address unmet medical needs in treating diabetes and holds promising potential in the anti-diabetic and anti-obesity market'.

The number of diabetics in the world, estimated at 246 million, is expected to increase to 380 million by 2025.

Currently, 41 million, accounting 16.6 per cent of the global diabetic population, live in India and this number is expected to touch 70 million or 18.4 per cent of global diabetic patients, by 2025.

The global anti-diabetic market was estimated at 24 billion dollars in 2008.

The Zydus Research Centre has over 20 discovery programmes on with several candidates in the pre-clinical development stage focused on metabolic, cardiovascular, pain and inflammation therapeutic areas.


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