Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Newswise — Justin M. Brown, MD, reconstructive neurosurgeon at UC San Diego Health System, is one of only a few specialists in the world who have pioneered a novel technique to restore hand function in patients with spinal cord injury. In a delicate four-hour procedure, Brown splices together tiny nerve endings, only one millimeter in width, to help restore hand mobility. Most patients return home 24 hours after surgery. “Even if a patient appears to have lost total hand function, as long as there is some nerve in the arm or shoulder under the patient’s control, some mobility may be regained,” said Brown, director of the Neurosurgery Peripheral Nerve Program and co-director of the Center for Neurophysiology and Restorative Neurology at UC San Diego Health System. “With a nerve transfer, the goal is to reverse paralysis. This means achieving functional grasp and release so that patients can eat independently, operate a computer or hold a loved one’s hand.”
at 10:38 PM posted by SCIENCE NEWS
UC San Diego doctors refute studies condoning moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy Newswise — Experts at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine disagree with a series of new studies from Denmark that suggest consumption of up to 8 alcoholic drinks a week or occasional binge drinking during pregnancy is generally safe for the developing baby. Kenneth Lyons Jones, MD, professor in the UCSD Department of Pediatrics and a renowned expert in birth defects, and Christina Chambers, MPH, PhD, director of the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS) Pregnancy Health Information Line, say these studies are misleading to pregnant women, citing more than 30 years of research to the contrary.
at 10:35 PM posted by SCIENCE NEWS
An extensive review of pregnancies over the course of more than three decades shows that women with poorly managed asthma are at an increased risk of having a low-birth weight baby, a premature baby and other pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia. The new study was recently published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Christina Chambers, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego was part of the team of seven researchers who reviewed data involving more than 1 million women between 1975 and 2009.Click here to read more about the study.
at 10:31 PM posted by SCIENCE NEWS
Baby born with six separate heart defects whose parents were told he would not survive stuns doctors with recovery
A toddler who is thought to be the only child in the world born with SIX separate heart defects has stunned doctors by making an incredible recovery - after they warned his parents he would not survive. Medics told Michelle and Darryl Lewis that their baby had an unheard of number of heart defects - and suggested they terminate the pregnancy at a 21-week scan. But the devastated couple refused - despite doctors’ fears that the baby would not survive the birth. However, despite a difficult birth and surgery at just eight-hours old, followed by four more operations, young Riley recovered. He made such good progress that he was even well enough to be a pageboy at his parents’ wedding just seven months later. Michelle, 32, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: 'The surgeons told us that it is nothing short of a miracle that Riley is here at all. 'Doctors told us having one heart defect was unlucky, but six was unheard of. They said he probably wouldn’t make it through the pregnancy, and even if he did, wouldn’t survive long after birth. 'We were devastated - but Darryl and I just turned to each other and we knew straight away there was no way either of us was going to give up on our baby. 'The rest of my pregnancy was terrifying - I lived in fear of something going wrong. 'When I went into labour, Riley’s heart stopped every time I had a contraction - we nearly lost him so many times. But he’s a tough little boy and he’s amazed all of us - he’s so strong, and we are so proud of him.' The couple had no idea there were any complications with Michelle’s pregnancy until their 21 week scan - when nurses struggled to hear the heartbeat clearly. Michelle was booked in for a specialist scan a week later at the Evelina Children’s Hospital, London, where the stunned couple were told the extent of Riley’s condition. They were warned their unborn child was suffering from a back-to-front valves, a large hole in the heart, as well as various conditions that made his arteries thick and made it difficult for blood to pump around the body. Michelle said: 'The nurse’s face just dropped, and she went out of the room to get a doctor. 'I knew something was wrong and I just burst into tears before they had even told us what was wrong. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life.The doctors said our baby’s heart was struggling to pump blood around his body, and he had so many complications he wouldn’t live. 'They said they’d never seen anything like it - having so many conditions was totally unheard of. 'They took us into a little room and advised us to terminate the pregnancy - but there was no way we would even consider it. 'They agreed to monitor me closely throughout the rest of the pregnancy, but it was terrifying. I was always thinking the worst was going to happen, but Darryl kept me positive and was my rock. 'I was induced and went into labour on Christmas eve, and it lasted 15 terrifying hours before doctors decided to perform an emergency caesarean on Christmas day 2010. 'I heard this little scream and the nurses held him up for me to see before he was whisked away. I remember seeing his big beautiful eyes and just pleading that he would keep fighting.'
at 10:02 PM posted by SCIENCE NEWS
Scientists have successfully reversed diabetes in mice using stem cells, paving the way for a breakthrough treatment for the illness. The research is the first to show that human stem cell transplants can successfully restore insulin production and reverse diabetes in mice. Crucially, the team re-created the 'feedback loop' that enables insulin levels to automatically rise or fall based on blood glucose levels. Diabetes affects more than two million people in Britain. After the stem cell transplant, the diabetic mice were weaned off insulin, a procedure designed to mimic human clinical conditions. Three to four months later, the mice were able to maintain healthy blood sugar levels even when being fed large quantities of sugar. Transplanted cells removed from the mice after several months had all the markings of normal insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
at 9:50 PM posted by SCIENCE NEWS
Two mugs of coffee a day could help keep the heart healthy. A study has linked the drink with a lower risk of heart failure. With up to 40 per cent of those affected dying within a year of diagnosis, heart failure has a worse survival rate than many cancers. The latest research suggests that regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee can cut the odds of cardiac trouble – though too much could be counter-productive. Crunching together the results of five previous studies, involving almost 150,000 men and women, showed that those who enjoyed one or two mugs of coffee a day were 11 per cent less likely to develop heart failure than those who had none. Heart attack survivors gained as much benefit as those with healthy hearts.
at 9:49 PM posted by SCIENCE NEWS
The world's first geneticallymodified humans have been created, it was revealed last night. The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics. So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain genes from three 'parents'. Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey. The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilised in an attempt to enable them to conceive. Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults --two women and one man. The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated them into their 'germline' means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them on to their own offspring. Altering the human germline - in effect tinkering with the very make-up of our species - is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world's scientists. Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence. Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this 'is the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children'. Some experts severely criticised the experiments. Lord Winston, of the Hammersmith Hospital in West London, told the BBC yesterday: 'Regarding the treat-ment of the infertile, there is no evidence that this technique is worth doing . . . I am very surprised that it was even carried out at this stage. It would certainly not be allowed in Britain.'
at 9:38 PM posted by SCIENCE NEWS