Driving Risky as Common Sleep Disorders Worsen

Close to half of older adults might have sleep apnea, which is a condition where sleep and breathing are briefly interrupted many times throughout the night. A recent study has shown that this chronic tiredness may have serious implications for safety on the road.

People who have sleep apnea will wake up feeling tired in the morning and it doesn’t matter how many hours they actually slept. Sleep apnea causes people to stop briefly and restart breathing dozens and even hundreds of times in a night. Even those with breathing interruptions often won’t awaken a person that has sleep apnea and will prevent them from getting into a refreshing, deep sleep.

A recent study shows a variety of how dangerous chronic tiredness from sleep apnea can be when it comes to driving. For every eight added breathing interruptions each hour, the odds of making dangerous driving moves such as braking hard, speeding and suddenly accelerating increase by 27% according to the research.

Older adults are much more likely to develop sleep apnea. In addition, they are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in an automobile accident. This discovery, has suggested that screening adults that are older for sleep apnea and then for treatment if needed, might help the older population continue driving safely for a longer period.

The percentage of adults who are older with mild sleep apnea is 30% to 50%. However, if these adults do not have sleepiness during the day or any other proof of impairment, they may not become aware they need medical attention. The findings have suggested that it might be wise to lower the threshold to evaluate adults who are older for sleep apnea and track their interruptions in breathing. If their conditions are worse by just eight interruptions per hour, that might have significant negative effects on their driving and the risk of serious injury.

People 65 and older are the more responsible drivers on our roads. They tend to obey speed limits and drive defensively. They tend to avoid driving in bad weather, at night and in places that are unfamiliar. However, changes that come with the advancement of age such as slower reflexes, deteriorating vision and sleep difficulty, can undermine even some of the safest habits.

The researchers teamed up with a driving researcher to study the relationship between risky driving behaviors and sleep apnea.

96 older adult participants were recruited and had their sleep habits and driving monitored under real world situations. The team used a commercially available test that was taken at home to identify participants with sleep apnea and then measure its severity. Fewer than five interruptions of breathing an hour is considered normal. Five to 15 interruptions per hour is considered mild sleep apnea. 15 to 30 interruptiond is considered moderate, and greater than 30 is considered severe.

To assess the driving habits, the team installed a chip into the participant’s personal cars and monitored their driving for one year with focus on episodes of sudden acceleration, braking hard, and speeding. In total, they collected data on more than 100,000 participant’s trips. Additionally, the participants were evaluated by the team for molecular evidence of early Alzheimer’s Disease and cognitive impairments.

Although all participants were cognitively normal, almost one third had changes in their brain which was indicative of early Alzheimers. The team discovered that the frequency that the drivers made with moves that were dangerous behind the wheel increased in parallel with the frequency that their sleep had been interrupted at night. This was even though their brains did not show any markers of early Alzheimers.

Since there weren’t cameras in the participant’s vehicles, the team doesn’t know exactly what occurred that caused a participant to suddenly brake hard. An example would be not noticing a light that turned red until they got close and had to brake suddenly. The more tired a person is, the less attention they have to handle the task going on, particularly if it is constantly changing and is novel.

The study does help untangle the way risk factors that are age related, such as poor sleep and Alzheimers put older adults into danger when driving. It also might assist efforts to discover new ways to maximize safe driving for years.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Adverse driving behaviors are associated with sleep apnea severity and age in cognitively normal older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease

Breakthrough Tendon Repair with Stem Cells and Silk Protein

Many people know that an injury to tendons can be difficult, lengthy and many times an incomplete process of healing. As an example, repetitive or sudden motion which can be experienced by factory workers and athletes can increase the risk of ruptures or tears in the tendons. 30% of people will experience an injury to the tendon with the highest risk in women. Additionally, people who endure this type of injury are more likely to experience a future injury at the same site or never fully recover from the injury.

Muscles which are attached to bone are tendons which are fibrous connective tissues. The tissues are soft and connected to rigid bones which makes for a difficult interface that is a very defined structure. After an injury occurs, the structure becomes obstructed and the tissues that connect the muscle to the bone change from a linear formation to one that is kinked. Excessive scarring may additionally occur which changes the tendon’s natural properties and the capacity to bear loads.

While the body is going through its natural process of healing, tendons and other cells initiate to reconstruct the primary matrix of connective parallel tissue fibers. However, this process can take weeks and even months and the resulting tendon is very often not perfect. This will result in chronic pain, weakness and a lesser quality of life.

Potential treatments for injuries to the tendons include grafts from the tendon tissue taken from donors or patients. However these have a risk of infection, necrosis or transplant rejection. Transplants that are synthetic have been tried, but biocompatibility, bio-degradation and mechanical problems have hindered these attempts.

An alternative approach is to use MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) which are specialized cells whose pivotal role is in regeneration of tissue. At the site of the wound, they can tell the difference between various cell types. They then produce molecules that signal which will regulate cellular migration, immune response, and new formation of blood vessels which enables regeneration of tissue.

However, methods of treatment that use direct injection, systemic infusion or MSCs being genetic modified have their own problems. Infusion that is systemic does not target specifically to the site of injury. An injection that is direct requires a prohibitively large number of cells, and modification that is genetic is insufficient and will produce cells that can be hard to isolate.

Another approach has been constructing bio-material scaffolds or frameworks, and then let in MSCs and growth factors to create new tissue in the tendon. A team has used this method in developing a procedure that is showing important advances in MSC regeneration of tissue.

The team initially looked to silk fibroin which is a silk protein that is produced by the Bombyx mori silkworm. It is used in silk fabrics and additionally used in electrical and optical material and in a variety of biomedical applications such as suture materials to bone, bio-engineered ligaments, and corneal tissue. Due to its superior durability, strength, bio-degradative, and bio-compatibility aspects, silk fibroin is perfect to use in frameworks for tendons.

To enhance the ability of the framework for regeneration of tissue, the team combined silk fibroin with GelMA, a gel that is gelatin based. It retains water due to the GelMA’s controllable degradation, biocompatiblity, stiffness and the ability to promote cell growth and attachment.

The synergistic results of GelMA’s capacity for the support of formation of regenerative tissue and the structural advantages of the silk fibroin make the composite material very well suited for repair of tendons.

The team prepared mixtures of a variety of ratios of silk fibroin and GelMA (SG) and created thin nanofiber sheets. Next they tested the sheets for fiber stretchiness and structure and chose the best formulation with the optimal mechanical properties. They noticed that the silk fibroin passed on an increased permeability to the material which enhanced repair of the tissue.

The improved SG sheets were then implanted with MSCs and put through a variety of tests measuring MSC production of growth factor, differentiation and compatibility, and gene activity that triggered matrix formulation.

The MSCs that were on the SG sheets indicated a rise in proliferation and viability of cells compared to those on silk fibroin sheets that did not have the GelMA (SF). Genetic analysis indicated that pertinent gene activity in SG MSCs was greatly increased as contrasted to those on SF sheets which was shown to be decreased.

Using stained test procedures it was shown that the MSCs on the SG sheets indicated a rate higher than 80% of attachment and showed an oblong shape which is similar to cells that are attached to surfaces. This was in comparison to a 60% rate of attachment on SF and GelMA only surfaces with spherically shaped cells.

Additional tests on a growth factor that was secreted by MSCs implanted onto nanofiber sheets indicated that the growth factors produced had the best ability to repair tendon tissue that was injured.

Experiments on live rats with injuries to their Achilles tendons were also performed. MSC implanted nanofiber sheets were attached to the site of injury and the SG sheets promoted the best healing acceleration with reduced sites of injury and remodeled muscle component and the formation of densely packed, well-aligned fiber.

Remodeling of tissue for repair of tendons is very challenging to achieve. The research done has significantly advanced that achievement.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Co-Electrospun Silk Fibroin and Gelatin Methacryloyl Sheet Seeded with Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Tendon Regeneration

Your Gut Microbiome Can Influence Your Food Cravings

Every day we all make decisions about what we consume, however our choices might not be totally our own. Research on mice has shown that the microbes in their guts have an influence on what they choose to eat, creating substances that will prompt urges for a variety of foods.

Everyone has urges for certain foods like really needing to eat a salad or some meat. The team’s work has shown that mice with different varieties of microbes in the gut choose different foods.

Although it has long been speculated by researchers as to whether microbes can influence what we prefer to eat, the thought has not been tested directly on animals larger that a fruit fly. Investigating this, 30 mice that had a lack of gut microbes were given a combination of microorganisms coming from 3 species of wild rodents that had contrasting natural diets.

They discovered that each group of mice had chosen foods flush in a variety of different nutrients which showed that their microbiome had changed what they preferred to eat.

While the thought that microbiome can affect a person’s behavior may appear somewhat far fetched, it wasn’t a surprise for the team. Our gut and our brain are in ongoing contact, with particular kinds of molecules acting as mediators. Byproducts from digestion signal that you have consumed enough food or that maybe you need certain types of nutrients. However, microbes can emit some of these same molecules, possibly hijacking lines of communication which can change the meaning of their message benefitting themselves.

For example, one messenger might be needing a nap following a turkey dinner due to its content of tryptophan. This is an essential amino acid that is found in turkey, however it is also formed by microbes in the gut. It travels to the brain and is transformed into serotonin which sends an important signal for feeling satisfied following a meal. It then eventually becomes converted into melatonin making you sleepy.

From this study, it was shown that the mice that had contrasting microbiomes also had varying levels of tryptophan in their blood. This was before they had the choice to choose a different diet. Those with more of this molecule in their blood also showed more bacteria that could produce it in their gut.

Tryptophan is only one thread of what is a complicated web of chemical communication. There are most likely dozens of signals that influence eating behavior day to day. Tryptophan which is produced by microbes might be one aspect of that. However, it does establish a credible way that microscopic organisms can alter what we prefer to eat. This is one of a few rigorous experiments showing such a link between the brain and the gut despite quite a few years of theorizing by researchers.

There is still more science that needs to be done before a person should begin distrusting their cravings for certain foods. Without a way to test the idea on humans, the researchers could not measure the significance of microbes in determining diet when compared to anything else.

It might be that what a person has eaten the day before is more significant than just the microbes they have. People have a lot more going on that can’t be ignored in the team’s experiment.

It is just one behavior that microbes might be tweaking without our knowledge. The field is young and there is a lot still to learn. The team is just amazed at the role they are finding that microbes play in animal and human biology.

To view the original scientific study click below:
The gut microbiome influences host diet selection behavior

Meditation Can Help Improve Mental Awareness

If you make mistakes or are forgetful when hurried, a new study which is the largest in this field to date, has found that meditation can help a person be less error prone.

The study tested ways that open monitoring meditation altered activity in the brain in a way that has suggested increased recognition of error. This is meditation that puts the focus on awareness of thoughts, feelings, or sensations as they occur in a person’s body and mind.

Interest in mindfulness and meditation is currently passing what science is able to prove in relation to benefits and effects. The team noted how amazing it was to be able to observe how just one course of a managed meditation is able to make changes to activity in the brain in non-meditators.

The discovery has suggested that a variety of meditation forms can produce contrasting neurocognitive outcomes. The team explains that there isn’t much research in regards to the reason why open monitoring meditation can impact error recognition.

In some kinds of meditation the person will focus on a single thing, such as breathing. However, there is a difference with open monitoring meditation. With it a person turns inward and then places their attention on everything that is happening with their body and mind. The aim is for the person to sit quietly while noticing where the mind goes without getting too caught up in what is going on around them.

The team recruited over 200 non-meditation participants to test how open monitoring affected how people detect and then respond to errors.

The non-meditation participants were put through an open monitored meditation exercise that lasted 20 minutes. During this session the team measured activity in the brain through EEG. Afterwards, a computerized distraction test was completed.

The EEG measures activity in the brain at the millisecond level so the team could get exact measurements of neural activity immediately following mistakes compared to responses that were correct. A particular neural signal will occur about half a second following an error which is called error positivity which is associated with conscious recognition of error. They discovered that the strength of the signal is increased in the mediators compared to controls.

Even though the mediators did not have immediate improvements to real task performance, the team’s discoveries show a promising window into the possibility of sustained meditation.

The findings show a powerful demonstration of how meditating for just 20 minutes can strengthen the ability of the brain to realize and note a mistake. This shows how mindfulness meditation could potentially be capable of use in daily functioning and performance from moment to moment.

While mindfulness and meditation have shown more mainstream interest in the past few years, the study group is a relatively small group that use a neuroscientific approach to evaluating their performance and psychological effects.

To view the original scientific study click below:
On Variation in Mindfulness Training: A Multimodal Study of Brief Open Monitoring Meditation on Error Monitoring

Vitamin D The Sunshine Vitamin That Supports Cardio Health

Vitamin D is naturally produced when you are exposed to the sun. It is a natural source of a hormone essential to us and especially to our bones. However, according to new research, when you are low on this vitamin, not only do the bones take a hit but also cardio health.

The study which is the first of it kind, has identified genetic evidence that a deficiency of Vitamin D is causing cardiovascular disease. It indicates that people with low Vitamin D are most likely to have heart disease and high blood pressure. Participants who had the lower concentrations of the vitamin were shown to have a heart disease risk that was more than two times higher than participants in the normal range.

Worldwide cardiovascular diseases (CVD’s) are the leading cause of death. Low levels of Vitamin D are common in many places in the world. The team says the role of the deficiency of the vitamin for health of the heart could reduce CVD’s globally.

A severe deficiency is rare, but where is does occur it is important to be proactive and decrease negative affects on the heart.

We can get Vitamin D from food sources which include eggs, oily fish and fortified drinks and food. Unfortunately, food is a relativity poor source of the vitamin and a diet that is healthy typically does not contain enough.

If you don’t get enough from the sun, then supplementation will help keep up the requirements.

The results of the study are important as they suggest that Vitamin D levels can be raised to be within the normal range that will also affect rates of CVD’s. By increasing Vitamin D deficient levels at least 50 nmol/L it is estimated 4.4% of all CVD cases could have been prevented.

The study utilized a new genetic approach that made it able for them to assess how increasing the levels of the vitiman could effect CVD risk based on how high vitamin D levels were. The study utilized information from close to 267,980 participants which allowed them to provide strong statistical evidence for the association between CVD and Vitamin D.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Non-linear Mendelian randomization analyses support a role for vitamin D deficiency in cardiovascular disease risk

New Discovery Enhances Recovery of Injured Muscle

Researchers have developed a promising new approach to combat age related muscle atrophy that is associated with immobility following illness or injury. The technique which was shown in mice, arrests the processes through which muscle will begin to deteriorate at the start of exercise following a period of inactivity.

Exercise and activities that particularly are load bearing, help retain muscle mass which is especially important as we age. Illness and injury can lead to periods of decline in the quality of muscle mass and inactivity.

When we don’t have the ability to contract a muscle, it atrophies. If that immobility remains for very long, there is going to be a significant loss of strength and muscle mass.

Muscles of younger adults and children will tend to quickly recover resuming exercise. However, for older adults, they are deficient in the ability to recover muscles mass following a period of disuse.

The typical prescription is physical therapy to promote the healing process following immobility and injury. However, studies have shown that cellular dysfunction and inflammation in the muscles accumulate and hamper healing.

The team focused on the factors that degrade or enhance muscle mass in the aging process. In an earlier study, the team discovered that injecting pericytes, which are support cells, contributed to restoration of muscle in young mice following an episode of immobility. But the response was not as good in the older mice to these injections and the recovery was impeded.

In the current study the researchers obtained pericytes from the muscles of healthy, young mice and cultivated them in a cell culture. These cells were exposed to hydrogen peroxide. It is a strong oxidant that will promote the creation of extracellular vesicles (EVs) that contain factors that will battle stress and promote the healing process. They also collected EVs to use in therapy.

Extracellular vesicles are required to intercellular communication and can be utilized as biological markers of disease and health. Earlier studies have shown that in addition they are powerful biological mediators of healing and stress. As an example, blood can be taken from young mice, EVs from the blood collected and then injected into older mice and they would then have a younger collection of traits which are known as phenotypes. You can also take healthy EVs from the blood of mice, introduce them into a mouse with diabetes and it will reverse the diabetes.

However there hasn’t been any studies exploring the use of EVs in support of muscle recovery.

Pericyte-derived EVs were injected into the muscles of mice that were young and old that had gone through sustained immobility of muscle in one leg and were starting to reuse these muscles again.

They were successful. The mice that were treated with the stimulated EVs were able to recover skeletal muscle fiber size in both the young and older mice. The research also showed for the fist time EVs that had been derived from muscle pericytes produced a diversity of factors that could combat oxidative stress and inflammation.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Development of a cell-free strategy to recover aged skeletal muscle after disuse

Gut Bacteria Influence Brain Functions, Immunity and Metabolism

Gut microbiota produce by-products which move throughout the bloodstream and regulate a host of physiological processes that include appetite, body temperature, metabolism, immunity and functions of the brain. Research has discovered in an animal model that hypothalamic neurons will detect differences of activity in the bacteria and change body temperature and appetite accordingly. The findings show that a direct dialog will occur between the brain and the gut microbiota. This is a finding that might point to advanced therapeutic ways to address metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes.

The largest bacteria reservoir in the body is the gut. Evidence is growing that acknowledges the degree of interdependence between hosts and their microbiota in the gut and highlights how important the brain-gut axis is. Neurobiologists and microbiologist have shown their expertise on how gut bacteria directly control the activity of certain neurons in the brain.

Researchers put their focus on the NOD2 receptor located inside of primarily immune cells. This particular receptor will detect if muropeptides are present. These are the supports of the cell wall bacteria. It has been established previously that the MOD2 receptor gene coding variants are linked to disorders of the digestive system which includes Crohn’s disease and also mood disorders and neurological diseases. However, this data was insufficient to show a direct relationship between activity of bacteria in the gut and brain activity. This was shown by the group of scientists in the recent study.

Utilizing techniques in brain imaging, the team first noticed in mice that the NOD2 receptor is transported by neurons in a variety of areas of the brain and particularly in the hypothalamus. These neurons’ electrical activity is repressed when contacting bacterial muropeptides from the gut. Muropeptides in the blood, brain and gut are thought to be markers of proliferation of bacteria. By contrast, if the NOD2 receptor is gone, these neurons are no longer suppressed by muropeptides. Therefore, the brain will lose control of intake and food and body temperature. The mice gained weight and are were more susceptible to the development of type 2 diabetes and in particular in older female mice.

In the study, the team have shown the astounding fact that neurons will perceive bacterial muropeptides directly. This job was thought to be mostly allocated to immune cells. It is extraordinary to find that bacterial fragments will act directly on a brain center that is as strategic as the hypothalamus. This part of the brain manages important functions such as temperature of the body, hunger, thirst, and reproduction.

The neurons appear to detect bacterial activity in both death and proliferation as a direct gauge of the impact of intake of food on the ecosystem of the intestines. The excessive consumption of a specific food could stimulate the disproportionate growth of certain pathogens or bacteria which jeopardizes the balance of the intestine.

The impact of muropeptides on metabolism and hypothalamic neurons raises questions on their possible part in other functions of the brain and may help in understanding the association between genetic variants of NOD2 and certain diseases of the brain. This finding paves a way for new interdisciplinary projects between immunology, neurosciences, and microbiology and eventually new therapeutic approaches to metabolic disorders and diseases of the brain.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Bacterial sensing via neuronal Nod2 regulates appetite and body temperature

Improve Sleep by Avoiding Blue Light

It was found from healthy young people who participated in a sleeping lab study that sleeping for just one night with low light (such as a TV with the sound off) raised their heart rate and blood sugar levels. The low light enters the eyes and will disrupt sleep even though the participants slept with their eyes closed.

Heart rate will normally drop at night which slows down the brain as it is busy rejuvenating and repairing the body. A raised heart rate at night has been shown in many studies to be a risk for early death and heart disease.

Insulin resistance happens when blood sugar levels are high. This is where the body quits properly using glucose and the pancreas works overtime increasing insulin in an effort to overcompensate until it will eventually lose its ability to work at all. Over time, resistance to insulin can lead to to Type 2 diabetes.

Previous research shows a link between light that is artificial at night with obesity and gaining weight. It can also lead to disruptions in insulin secretion, metabolic function and the development of cardiovascular risks and diabetes.

In the study, the team used 20 healthy individuals in their 20’s that slept for 2 nights in a sleep lab. They were in a darkened room the first night not being able to see anything even with the eyes open. All of the participants were connected to devices that monitor a variety of objective measures of quality of sleep. Data could then be obtained with little interference. They all had an IV that had long tubes that connected through a hole to the lab researchers. The blood was then drawn without bothering the sleeping participant.

From recording the brainwaves, the researchers could tell what stage of sleep the participant was in. The team recorded breathing, EKG and their heart rate. Blood was also drawn to measure the hormone melatonin levels during sleep which regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. The light used was not bright enough to lower levels of melatonin.

A randomized part of the group then repeated the same light level for a second night in the lab. Another group slept with a low overhead light that had a glow somewhat comparable to a very cloudy dark night with street lights coming in through a window with their eyelids closed. It is estimated that approximately 5%-10% of natural light could actually find its way though the closed eyelids which is a low level of light. Even the tiniest amount of light decreased rapid eye movement and slow wave sleep, the stages of sleep in which most of cellular renewal will occur.

They also had increases in insulin, heart rate was higher, and the fight or flight, and the rest and relax nervous systems were not in balance, which has been associated to a higher blood pressure in healthy people.

So what to do? Avoid blue light in the bedroom. All curtains and blinds should be closed, all lights that produce any blue turned off and a sleep mask is helpful. You can purchase night lights, light bulbs and flash lights that are blue free if you need any of those in your bedroom during the night. You can also purchase blue blocking glasses to wear for two hours before going to bed. That’s how long it takes after blue exposure stops before your endocrine system begins making melatonin naturally which is much more effective than supplements.

In addition, be aware of the types of lights. Completely ban lights in the blue spectrum in the bedroom such as electronic devices or tablets, smartphones, televisions and laptops.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Light exposure during sleep impairs cardiometabolic function

Sound Partially Destroys Tumors That Don’t Come Back

The University of Michigan has discovered that noninvasive technology of sound can break down tumors in the liver of rats. It can also kill cancer cells and stimulate the immune system to prevent any continued spread. This potentially could lead to advances in improved outcomes of cancer in humans.

The procedure doesn’t target the whole tumor but destroys 50-75% of the tumors volume. The animals immune system has the ability to clear away the rest with no recurrence evident in more than 80% of the rats. Even if the entire liver isn’t targeted, the team could still cause a regression of the tumor and reduce the risk of metastasis in the future.

The treatment was also shown to stimulate the animals response of the immune system. This potentially contributes to the ultimate regression of the portion of the tumor that was not targeted and prevents additional growth of the cancer.

The treatment which is called histotripsy, focuses noninvasively ultrasound waves that mechanically eradicates, with millimeter precision, any targeted tissue. This rather new technique is currently used in trials of liver cancer in humans in the U.S. and Europe.

In numerous clinical occurrences, the entire cancerous tumor can’t be directly targeted in treatments for reasons that entail the mass’ location, size and stage. To research the results from partially destroyed tumors with the use of sound, the newest study targeted just a part of each mass, leaving behind an intact tumor that was viable. In addition it allowed the team to reveal the effectiveness of the approach under conditions that had limited conditions.

Histotripsy is an encouraging choice that can overcome the restrictions of presently available ablation modalities and provide effective and safe noninvasive removal of the liver tumor. The team hopes that the results from their study will prompt preclinical and clinical histrotripsy research in the future towards the eventual goal of adoption of histotripsy treatment for patients with liver cancer.

Cancer of the liver is among the top 10 causes of global deaths related to cancer. With the current treatment options, the prognosis is poor with fewer than 18% in the U.S. having a five year survival rate. The occurrence is high of tumor metastasis and recurrence following initial treatment which shows the clinical need for the improvement for people with cancer of the liver.

The normal ultrasound utilizes sound waves to produce images of the interior of the body. This new technique by the team is pioneering the utilization of these waves for treatment. Additionally their treatment will work without the side effects that are harmful with current treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

The transducer they have designed and made has the ability to deliver high magnitude microsecond-length ultrasound currents to center on the tumor to break it up. Traditional devices that are ultrasound use decreased amplitude currents for imaging.

The long microsecond currents from the team’s transducer cause micro bubbles within the tissues that are targeted. These bubbles will rapidly enlarge and disintegrate. These violent but very localized mechanical pulses kill cells that are cancerous and break up the structure of the tumor.

Recently the team’s study has produced results that are promising on histrotripsy treatment of immunotherapy and brain therapy.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Impact of Histotripsy on Development of Intrahepatic Metastases in a Rodent Liver Tumor Model

Stem Like Regenerative Cell Type Discovered in Human Lungs

Research highlighting a new type of cell discovered in the human lung could play an important role in treating diseases of the lungs. The study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the Univ. of Pennsylvania have reported their discovery of finding and identifying the new cells.

The new cells are called respiratory airway secretory cells or RASCs. They are found deep in the human lungs and line airway branches near bronchi structures that exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. Because they are similar to stem cells they can regenerate other essential cells for bronchi to function normally. But if a person smokes or has COPD this regenerative function can be disrupted and, therefore, the RASCs will not be effective. Research can be done to see if this disruption can be corrected.

COPD, which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is quite common and can be devastating. It is not known how or why some people develop it but it progressively damages the bronchi and elevates chronic inflammation. Currently in some parts of the U.S. it affects about 10% of people and around the globe there are approximately 3,000,000 deaths. The treatment is usually steroid anti-inflammatory drugs along with oxygen therapy but they can only slow the process instead of stopping or reversing it.

By finding new cell types like progenitor cells that are injured by COPD, it may help in developing new treatments. COPD is still not understood completely because the current studies use mice and their lungs are missing some important features similar to human lungs.

But now new evidence has been uncovered from the examination of gene activity lung cell signatures showing RASCs present. These cells do not exist in mouse lungs. They found that RASC cells are seretory cells residing near bronchi and are used to produce proteins that are essential to the fluid lining of airways.

The researchers note that studies of this magnitude help discover at the cell-biology level just what is occurring when a person has COPD. From observing similarities between gene activity and RASCs along with a progenitor cell in brochi called AT2 further discoveries can be made. Because of the secretory function of RASCs they may act as precursors for AT2 cells which would regenerate them to keep the AT2 population and bronchi healthy.

When COPD is present in a person, their AT2 cells become abnormal. The RASCs may have defects that enhance these abnormalities creating a faulty RASC-to-AT2 transformation in people with COPD and people that smoke.

With more research there is great possibility that new treatments can be discovered that can restore normal RASC-to-AT2 transformation in people with damaged lungs.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Human distal airways contain a multipotent secretory cell that can regenerate alveoli