Tag Archives | Disease

Skin Cells Turned Directly Into Neurons

By Clive Cookson for the Financial Times:

Stem cell scientists at Stanford University in California announced “a huge step forward” last night, with the publication of research that turned skin into nerve cells without any intermediate step.

The production of neurons [nerve cells] directly from other adult cells, without making stem cells en route, could transform “regenerative medicine” – providing a plentiful supply of neurons for treating people with degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s or those with spinal injuries.

“We actively and directly induced one cell type to become a completely different cell type,” said Marius Wernig of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “These are fully functional neurons. They can do all the principal things that neurons in the brain do.”…

[continues at the Financial Times]

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Nitrates From Processed Foods and Fertilizers in Water Cause Alzheimer’s, Diabetes

Not much of a surprise is it? Add nitrates to your food or your water: say hello to disease. As reported in Medical News Today:

A new study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have found a substantial link between increased levels of nitrates in our environment and food, with increased deaths from diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes mellitus and Parkinson’s. The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Volume 17:3 July 2009).

Led by Suzanne de la Monte, MD, MPH, of Rhode Island Hospital, researchers studied the trends in mortality rates due to diseases that are associated with aging, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and cerebrovascular disease, as well as HIV. They found strong parallels between age adjusted increases in death rate from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes and the progressive increases in human exposure to nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines through processed and preserved foods as well as fertilizers.

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Tamiflu In Rivers Could Breed Drug-Resistant Super-Flu Strain

Wired writes about a frightening discovery made by Japanese scientists: rivers around the world are being contaminated with Tamiflu, the premier flu-fighting medicine, as users excrete it in their urine.

What’s the big deal? Birds, who are carriers of influenza, are being exposed to the waterborne Tamiflu residues and might develop and spread drug-resistant trains of seasonal and avian flu.

If scientists’ measurements are right, concentrations of Tamiflu in natural bodies of water are now “high enough to lead to antiviral resistance in waterfowl.” And, Tamiflu contamination will only rise in the coming winter months, as seasonal and swine flu hit the population.

Will Tamiflu sow the seeds of the next great pandemic?

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