Odor to make humans disappear- mosquitoes confusants

19-1The image at the right is an
electron micrograph of the head of a female Anopheles gambiae mosquito, showing the parts of olfactory appendages (antennae, maxillary palps and proboscis)

Dr. Leslie Vosshall and two colleagues at Rockefeller University published a series of experiments that seemed to settle the 50-year-old question of how the insect repellent DEET kept mosquitoes at bay (Science, 319:1838-42, 2008).

Vosshal explained their findings “It doesn’t smell bad to insects. It masks or inhibits their ability to smell you.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded the research to understand how and why DEET works. This is critical to creating the next generation of chemicals, which may head off insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
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Laurence Zwiebel of Vanderbilt University (also a Gates’ grantee) and  Ulrich Bernier of the US Department of Agriculture are not sure the findings just didn’t make sense, given everything they knew about this system

In Vosshall experiment,  the response of the mosquito’s olfactory neurons to two separate, attractive odors in human breath. Then, she combined each odorant with DEET in a single odor cartridge and noticed a smaller neural response. Vosshall believes DEET was blocking the mosquito’s olfactory co-receptor.
Another teams experiment another interpretation

Using gas chromatography, Leal confirmed his suspicions this year. When he repeated Vosshall’s experiment using separate odor cartridges that blended DEET and each attractive odor only at their tips, the mosquito’s neural response was no longer diminished. Then, Leal identified a DEET-sensitive odor receptor neuron and showed that mosquitoes avoid passing through a “curtain” of DEET vapors.
Leal’s paper surprised Vosshall, but is unconvinced by Leal’s results, and has been trying to reproduce the effect in her own lab. “Competition in science is good,” she says, “It can be difficult when it’s a small field, and this is a very small field.”

Genomic studies in 2005 have since shown that this co-receptor is found in insects ranging from mosquitoes to moths,  making humans invisible to insects. Using tissue cultures, she uses targeted drug discovery to screen 91,520 compounds from a chemical library, short-listing about 150 that she believes have the potential to be insect “confusants.”

Even Vosshall’s skeptics admit the confusant strategy is fundamentally sound. Zwiebel says his unpublished molecular work confirms the existence of confusants, but when it comes to DEET, he and Vosshall aren’t willing to budge. “We have agreed to disagree on the DEET story,” he says.

Resources

Smells funny? – Brendan Borrell  The Scientist.com Volume 23 | Issue 1 | Page 19.

http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/01/1/19/1/

Mosquitoes smell and avoid the insect repellent DEET – Leal and Zainulabeuddin Syed,  PNAS 105:13598-603, 2008 September 2008.


Image courtesy
of LJ Zwiebel, colorization by Dominic Doyle / Vanderbilt University

Surgeon General's New Family Health History Tool

Surgeon General’s New Family Health History Tool Is Released

Karen Hendricks of the D.C. Office of the AAP shares the following with you.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Contact: OPHS Press Office
(202) 205-0143
Surgeon General’s New Family Health History Tool Is Released, Ready for “21st Century Medicine”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released an updated and improved version of the Surgeon General’s Internet-based family health history tool. The new tool makes it easier for consumers to assemble and share family health history information.  It can also help practitioners make better use of health history information so they can provide more informed and personalized care for their patients.

“This valuable tool can put family histories to work to improve patient well-being and the quality of care,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said.  “The tool is built on health information technology standards that make it more convenient for consumers and more useful for practitioners.  It is ready for use in electronic health records.  And its software code will be openly available to other health organizations, so they can customize and build on its standards base.”

“Family history has always been an important part of good health care, but it has been underused,” said Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.  “Today, with our growing knowledge of genetics, family history is becoming even more important.  The new tool will help consumers and clinicians alike.  It will also serve as a platform for developing new risk assessment software that will help in screening and prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.”

Key features of the new version of the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait include:

  • Consumers can access the tool easily on the Web.  Completing the family health history profile typically takes 15-20 minutes.  Consumers should not have to keep filling out different health history forms for different practitioners.  Information is easily updated or amended.
  • Consumer control and privacy – The family health history tool gives consumers access to software that builds a family health tree. But the personal information entered during the use of the tool is not kept by a government or other site.  Consumers download their information to their own computer.  From there, they have control over how the information is used.
  • Sharing – Because the information is in electronic form, it can be easily shared with relatives or with practitioners.  Relatives can add to the information, and a special re-indexing feature helps relatives easily start their own history based on data in a history they received. Practitioners can help consumers understand and use their information.
  • EHR-ready, Decision support-ready – Because the new tool is based on commonly used standards, the information it generates is ready for use in electronic health records and personal health records.  It can be used in developing clinical decision software, which helps the practitioner understand and make the most use of family health information.
  • Personalization of care – Family history information can help alert practitioners and patients to patient-specific susceptibilities.
  • Downloadable, customizable – The code for the new tool is openly available for others to adopt.  Health organizations are invited to download and customize, using the tool under their own brand and adding features that serve their needs.  Developers may also use the code to create new risk assessment software tools.

The first adopter of the HHS-developed tool is the National Institute of Genomic Medicine of Mexico (INMEGEN).  Dr. Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez, director general of the institute, will release the Mexican Spanish-language version of the tool in Mexico City this month.  The Mexican family health history tool will be available on the INMEGEN Web site, http://www.inmegen.gob.mx.

The Indian Health Service, an agency of HHS that was instrumental in developing the new Surgeon General tool, will also adopt it into the IHS care system.

One organization saying it will link to the new tool is the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), a cancer advocacy organization.  “A strong family health history tool can be an important element for guiding medical decision-making, especially in the area of cancer screening, prevention and early detection,” said LAF founder and chairman Lance Armstrong.  “This tool will further the capabilities of electronic health records and takes a significant step toward improving clinical care.”

The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait was originally launched in 2004, but the first version was not standards-based.  The new tool was developed under Secretary Leavitt’s Initiative on Personalized Health Care.  It will be hosted by the National Cancer Institute, where the caBIG® initiative is pioneering health IT networks and software sharing.  A ready process for organizations to download the family health history code is at https://gforge.nci.nih.gov/projects/fhh.

The Surgeon General’s new My Family Health Portrait tool is located at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov.   In addition, a presentation of sample risk assessment tools under development can be viewed at http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=7297 .

ID sleep disorders through facial analysis 76% accurate

A team of researchers from the University of Sydney has developed an innovative method to analyse digital photographs of faces in order to determine an individual’s risk of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). In conjunction with the Royal North Shore Hospital and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Professor Peter Cistulli and Dr Richard Lee have found that analysis of detailed measurements of the face from digital photographs can help doctors identify those most in danger of developing OSA.ucsi018651mansleep

The potential clinical application to improved recognition and diagnosis of OSA in the community in a user friendly real time manner is great.

Four per cent of Australian middle-aged men and two per cent of middle-aged women suffer from OSA syndrome, while almost 50 per cent of middle-aged men snore during sleep: a symptom of OSA. The disease is characterised by the repetitive closure of the upper airway during periods of interrupted sleep and is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Previous methods of diagnosis have involved expensive specialist assessment and overnight monitoring in a sleep laboratory, meaning the majority of OSA sufferers are as yet undiagnosed.

“This new approach is really a response to the critical clinical need to develop more readily accessible, non-invasive methods that can enable doctors to more efficiently diagnose larger numbers of patients,” Professor Cistulli.

“The new test accurately diagnosed 76 per cent of OSA cases, yielding a higher success rate than the traditional clinical methods of questionnaires, medical histories and examinations.”

Resources

Researchers give a face to sleep disorders Science Alert Australia & New Zealand University of Sydney January 13, 2009.

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20091301-18671-2.html

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): a cephalometric analysis of severe and non-severe OSA patients. Part 1: Multiple comparison of cephalometric variables. – V. Tangugsorn et al,  International Journal of Adult Orthodontics and Orthognathic Surgery 2000:15(2):139-52.

http://www.usyd.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=2962

Contact: Jacob O’Shaughnessy Phone: 02 9351 4312

Dysport cousin to Botox – possible birth defects

Health alert over the “use of anti-wrinkle treatments like Botox, after an Australian baby was born with serious birth defects.

The mother was given facial cosmetic injections of the drug Dysport in the first weeks of her pregnancy in 2005. Her baby was born deaf and blind.

A report by the manufacturer a year later admits a possible link with the drug’s use, News Ltd reported.”

Dysport is made from clostridium botulinum type A  a haemeglobulin and has,  far as the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration is concerned, no warnings and no  specific indications are given for its use.

Haemeglobulin means it effects the blood and seems to cross the blood brain barrier in mom and fetus. The drugs effects on early stage  fetal development can possibly be due to the neurological stress causing the wrong chemical messages to be sent to the developing fetal systems.

From the Dysport commercial

Yes, “Dysport is a simple, effective, non-surgical treatment that works by relaxing facial muscles on the forehead, thereby reducing and smoothing away frown-lines and wrinkles this is true.”
Any drug that effects neurology and physiology of the body can cause troubles for the developing fetus in the womb.
Dysport has been used to treat

  • neurological and ophthalmic conditions.
  • frown lines
  • axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating under the armpits).
  • nervous tics and muscle spasms of the face and neck.
  • neuro-muscular conditions
  • botulinum toxin Type A to be approved in New Zealand
  • spasticity in adults of many types
botoxneed270.jpg

Getty Images

ADVERSE REACTIONS TO DYSPORT46 REPORTED

  • Possible birth defects to the botulinum type A toxin used in Botox and Dysport
  • temporary facial paralysis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • hallucinations
  • trouble swallowing
  • anxiety.

Dysport that have been reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration since July 1, 1994.
Is temporary beauty worth losing your health or your baby’s chance at a normal life?

Dysport is manufactured in Britain by Ipsen Limited.

Resources

Designing pediatric units for healing

Could it be that neuroscientists and architectural design firms are finally working together to improve img_742998_1_0child-hospitalmedical staff performance and the healing of the patients? Those three ideas of health, healing and environmental impact is an old concept in holistic medicine, but finally provable to western neuroscientists. All can now begin to benefit.

A U.S. architectural firm has announced plans to work with neuroscientists to identify healthcare facility designs that promote performance and healing.

HMC Architects of Ontario, Calif., says it will work with a team of neuroscientists from the University of California-San Diego, citing recent studies showing building design, color and lighting affect patient health.

“Neuroscience provides a means for us to measure how the brain, body and building interact,” said Eve Edelstein, a UCSD neurophysiologist. “Neuroscience gives us the tools to understand how the engagement of our senses in architectural space influences our emotions, behavior and health itself.”

To measure brain responses to simulated building designs, Edelstein is using a virtual reality device called the StarCave, developed by UCSD, and resembling a small Imax theater.

“We’ve synchronized the technology in the cave so that we can record a person’s brain waves at the same time they’re moving about in a simulated architectural environment,” Edelstein said. “So with this technology, we can test out architectural designs without having to build them. We can test which features work and which features don’t work by measuring the influence of architectural features on mental and physical function.”

Recently a scientific review of 320 evidence-based design studies in the academic literature that apply to the field of pediatrics, concluded that the

physical environment of health care settings affects the clinical, physiological, psychosocial and safety outcomes among child patients and families.

The need to

minimizing or eliminating the harmful effects of such environmental factors as loud noise, high light levels and infectious pathogens should be the goal of children’s hospitals and other types of hospitals providing pediatric services. In particular, the neonatal intensive care unit has been the focus of many interventions proven effective in improving infant health outcomes.
Examples of proven low cost design recommendations implementable at any time are:

– Hand washing dispensers at each bedside and in all high patient volume areas
– Incubator noise reduction measures (earmuffs, sound absorbing panels) in the NICU
– Circadian (cycled) lighting in the NICU
– Artwork and virtual reality images to provide positive distractions

Examples of proven moderate to high cost design interventions implementable during renovation or new construction include:

– Single family patient rooms
– Adequate space for families to stay overnight in patient rooms
– Accessible indoor or outdoor gardens
– Visual access and accessibility to patients (e.g. through decentralized nurses’ stations)
– HEPA filtration for immune compromised patients

“The exciting news is that well designed hospitals based on evidence can actually increase patient safety and quality, reduce anxiety and stress for child patients and their families and also improve working conditions for hospital staff,” said Lawrence McAndrews, president and CEO of NACHRI.

“Bottom line is this report challenges children’s hospitals and adult hospitals that serve children to evaluate their built spaces and implement design interventions that can help their pediatric patients heal.”

1. Neuroscientists to help design hospitals – Staff Writers San Diego (UPI) Nov 13, 2008
http://www.interndaily.com/reports/Neuroscientists_to_help_design_hospitals_999.html

2. Hospital Design Can Heal According to First Comprehensive Report on Impact of Physical Environment on Child Patients Levent OZLER May 10, 2008  http://www.dexigner.com/design_news/hospital-design-can-heal-according-to-first-comprehensive-report.html

image courtesy of http://search.live.com/images/results.aspx?q=Medical&form=MXCA00&kwid=7f83624462863621dd19e66fc85a66bb

Diabetic help from a peppery spice

Are you familiar with the pungent peppery West African spice known as grains of paradise or scientifically as Aframomum melegueta? It is a member of the ginger family that grows well in the swamps along the coast.

In African folklore medicine grains of paradise is used as a digestive aid. Today scientists are testing and hoping that an extract from this plant will become the newest diabetic medicine.

Raskin a Rutgers scientist says the extract could help to prevent the onset of diabetes in people at high risk and could be given prophylactically to individuals who have a family history of diabetes, or have other risk factors for developing such disease.

Diabetes spice -Justin Mullins NewScientist.com October 29, 2008

Comment: Why not work with American plants that have historical been used in the southwestern US to help control blood sugar problems like agave, cinnamon, tumeric and prickly pear?

Hydration

The health of the body, mind and energy is dependent on proper hydration.

The following will not be of significant help in hydrating your body:

Drinking juices, alcohol, coffee or any caffeinated beverages.

Drinking any liquid out of plastic or plastic lined containers

Eating foods that have been cooked in too much salty water or salted too much.

Eating processed foods

Being excessively stressed or not sleeping enough over a long period of time.

Drinking most waters does not help our hydration levels much.

Hydrating the cells of the body involves increasing the bioavailability of the water being consumed so the cells can take water into themselves that can be used efficiently.

You see we have been under hydrated since before birth.

Your health, peace of mind and body, communication ability, long productive and health filled life depends on hydration.

Antidepressants linked to sperm DNA damage

This is the second study by a team of researchers at Cornell Medical Center in New York which points to a possible effect on sperm quality.
SSRIs taken by millions of men to alleviate depression may affect their fertility, say US scientists.

New Scientist magazine reported that a small group of healthy men were given paroxetine an antidepressant for four weeks and had significantly higher levels of sperm DNA damage. These men may not have serious problems becoming a father. (Think of the potential for damage to unborn.-editor’s comment)

Paroxetine, sold as Seroxat or Paxil, is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the UK. They recruited 35 healthy volunteers who provided sperm samples before and during paroxetine treatment.

Under the microscope, there appeared to be not much difference between the “before” and “after” samples, with the shape and movement of sperm apparently normal in both samples.

However, tests on “DNA fragmentation” produced a different result.

Some sperm with DNA problems can be found in every sample, and 13.8% of sperm cells in those produced before treatment were found to be fragmented. This marker elevated four week mark, this had risen to 30.3%.

Studies have found that couples where the man’s sperm has higher levels of DNA damage produce fewer embryos, and their embryos are less likely to implant successfully in the womb.

Antidepressants are powerful drugs, so in a sense it is no surprise that research is discovering more about their impact on the body.

This damage to the DNA may also effect a mother who takes SSRIIs and then no one has studied the effects on the embryonic tissues to my knowledge.-editor’s note

Dr Andrew McCulloch, of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Most medications carry some level of risk, and antidepressants are no different.
“They are powerful drugs, so in a sense it is no surprise that research is discovering more about their impact on the body.

“More investment is needed in other mental health treatments such as talking therapies and exercise therapy.” (Add homeopathy, neuroemotional kinessiology, …-editor’s note)

Antidepressants ‘may harm sperm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7633400.stm

Immune system replacement or death by own cells

Why does the immune systems of some middle aged women suddenly turn against turn against them? Why are middle-aged women most vulnerable?

One woman Bari Martz began gasping for breath, her fingers turned blue and her hands became clentched with her joints so stiffened that she couldn’t even open her hands.  Death could be a consequence if something radical did not happen quickly
Doctors stored her own stem cells from her blood.  They destroyed her original misguided immune system and infused her own cultured stem cells.

Now two years later Bari rejuvenated immune system is helping her lungs and joints continue to heal; their functioning is greatly improved.

Scleroderma was the diagnosis. It is one of a family of autoimmune disorders that causes the body’s immune system to begin destroying its own cells causing thickening skin, stiffening joints, destroying blood vessels, and sometimes causing death through kidney and lung failure.

“The notion that more immuno-suppression is better is somewhat logical,” says Dr. Ellen Goldmuntz of the National Institutes of Health, which is funding some of the research. “The question’s how best to do it.”
Immune System Transplant Saves Woman – LAURAN NEERGAARD

http://news.aol.com/health/article/immune-system-transplant-saves-woman/183862