Author: ongtim

Using glass to fix broken bones

Using glass to fix broken bones

Glass may not seem an obvious material for a bone replacement. But UK surgeons are finding that bioglass not only is stronger than bone: it can bend, bounce and even fight infection.

In 2002, Ian Thompson, a specialist in facial reconstruction at King’s College, London, received an urgent phone call. A patient in his late 20s had been struck by an out-of-control car mounting the pavement. The impact had sent him catapulting over the bonnet of the car, smashing his face and shattering the fragile orbital floor – the tiny bone, no more than 1mm thick, which holds the eyeball in place in the skull.

“Without the orbital floor, your eye moves backwards into the skull, almost as a defensive mechanism,” Thompson explains. “But this results in blurred vision and lack of focus. This patient had also lost the ability to perceive colour. His job involved rewiring aircraft and as he could no longer detect a red wire from a blue one, he’d barely been able to work in three years.”

The accident had happened three years earlier. Since then, surgeons had desperately tried to reconstruct the bony floor and push the eye back into position, first using material implants and then bone from the patient’s own rib. Both attempts had failed. Each time, infection set in after a few months, causing extreme pain. And now the doctors were out of ideas.

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Lifestyle changes might guard against dementia

Lifestyle changes might guard against dementia

Seek a good education. Control blood pressure and diabetes. Get off the couch. There are some hints, but no proof yet, that these and other lifestyle changes just might help stave off dementia.

A provocative report in the British journal Lancet Thursday raised the prospect that a third of dementia cases around the world could be delayed or even prevented by avoiding key risks starting in childhood that can make the brain more vulnerable to memory loss in old age.

A recent U.S. report was much more cautious, saying there are encouraging clues that a few lifestyle changes can bolster brain health and that more research is critical.

Still, it’s never too early to try, said Lancet lead author Gill Livingston, a psychiatry professor at University College London.

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Yoga and Meditation can change your genes, study shows

Yoga and Meditation can change your genes, study shows

Yoga and meditation may do more than just help you feel relaxed in the moment. A new scientific review suggests that these and other mindfulness exercises can actually reverse stress-related changes in genes linked to poor health and depression.

In the new paper, published in Frontiers in Immunology, British researchers analyzed the findings from 18 previously published studies—involving a total of 846 people—on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, Qi gong and Tai Chi. Together, the authors say, the studies show that these mind-body exercises appear to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation.

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Dying is a happier experience than most people imagine

Dying is a happier experience than most people imagine

Dying is a more positive experience than most people imagine, psychologists have claimed.

A recent YouGov survey found 68 per cent of people in Britain fear death – but according to the authors of new study, dying is “less sad and terrifying – and happier – than you think”.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina analysed blogs written by terminally ill patients and last words of prisoners on death row.

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This new gene therapy could help ‘turn-off’ asthma!

This new gene therapy could help ‘turn-off’ asthma!

Sydney: A new gene therapy has been developed by a team of researchers that could help to ‘turn-off’ the immune response which causes allergic reaction such as asthma, or potentially lethal food allergies.

Ray Steptoe, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland in Australia said,”When someone has an allergy or asthma flare-up, the symptoms they experience results from immune cells reacting to protein in the allergen.”

The study showed that the single treatment may give life-long protection from asthma as well as those who have severe allergies to peanuts, bee venom, shell fish and other substances by de-sensitising the immune system to tolerate the protein.

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How one death saved seven lives

How one death saved seven lives

A seven-year-old boy’s heart has finally stopped beating 22 years after he was shot dead.

Nicholas Green, from the US, was killed during a holiday in southern Italy in 1994 when attackers mistook his family’s rental car for one involved in a jewellery heist.

His brave parents opted to donate their son’s organs and his heart, corneas, kidneys, liver and pancreas were given to seven people in desperate need – changing their lives forever.

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The Woman with a strange “second sight”

The Woman with a strange “second sight”

It ranks among the most curious phenomena in cognitive neuroscience. A handful of people in the world have “blindsight”: they are blind, but their non-conscious brain can still sense their surroundings.

Milina Cunning, from Wishaw in Scotland, lost her sight in her 20s, and later realised she had this blindsight ability. She has been studied extensively by researchers.

“If I was to throw a ping pong ball at Milina’s head, she would probably raise her arm and duck out of the way, even before she had any awareness of it,” says Jody Culham, a scientist who has scanned Cunning’s brain.

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Fear of talking about dying ‘leading to thousands of traumatic hospital deaths’

Fear of talking about dying ‘leading to thousands of traumatic hospital deaths’

Thousands of cancer patients would prefer to die at home but are forced to suffer “traumatic” deaths in hospital, according to Macmillan.

Taboos around talking about death are fuelling a “crisis of communication” in the UK that prevents people from planning their final days, warned the organisation in a new report.

Research by the charity found that while 38 per cent of people who die from cancer die in hospital, just one per cent would choose to do so, with 64 per cent saying they wanted to die at home.

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45 minutes’ exercise a week boosts brain power in over-fifties

45 minutes’ exercise a week boosts brain power in over-fifties

Just 45 minutes of exercise a week boosts the brain power of people in their fifties and over, major new research has revealed.

A review of dozens of previous studies found that even one session of moderate aerobic and resistance activity is enough to enhance people’s alertness, decision-making and memory.

Scientists have long believed that exercising slows down the cognitive decline that occurs naturally as people move from middle to old age, however the new analysis is the first of its kind to show that brain power actually improves from staying fit.

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How stress causes heart attacks and strokes

How stress causes heart attacks and strokes

The reason why stress causes heart attacks and strokes may finally have been discovered by scientists, leading to hopes that it could be prevented.

For years experts have puzzled as to how chronic anxiety leads to heart problems.

But now scientists have found that people who have heightened activity in a part of the brain linked to stress – the amygdala – are more likely to develop cardiovascular events.

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