Vibrating capsule shows promising results in treating chronic constipation: Non-pharmacological therapy

Constipation

An oral capsule that vibrates as it moves through the digestive tract has shown notable promise as a non-pharmacological treatment for constipation, according to new research. The capsule, which houses a small engine inside, is programmed to begin vibrating six to eight hours after swallowing. The vibrations (mechanical stimulations) cause contractions in the intestine, which help move stool through the digestive tract.

“Despite the widespread use of medication to treat constipation, nearly 50 percent of patients are unsatisfied with the treatment either because of side effects, safety concerns about long-term use, or the fact that it simply doesn’t work,” said Yishai Ron, MD, lead researcher for the study and director of Neurogastroenterology and Motility at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Twenty-six patients took the vibrating capsule twice per week and responded to a daily bowel movement and laxative use questionnaire. All patients initially underwent a two-week preliminary period without the use of laxatives. Patients reported an increase in spontaneous bowel movements from two to four times per week, as well as a decrease in constipation symptoms, including reduced difficulty in passing stools and incomplete evacuation. The study also found minimal side effects from the capsule use.

The capsule, which houses a small engine inside, is programmed to begin vibrating six to eight hours after swallowing. The vibrations (mechanical stimulations) cause contractions in the intestine, which help move stool through the digestive tract.

Chronic constipation is a highly prevalent disorder that affects approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population. Symptoms can be burdensome, leading to a reduction in patients’ quality of life.

“Sometimes, drug therapies bring more issues than relief for these patients,” Dr. Ron said. “The results of this study point to the potential for an alternative treatment that avoids the typical drug side effects, such as bloating and electrolyte imbalance, by imitating the body’s natural physiology.”

Dr. Ron said he and his team plan to initiate a controlled, double blind study to expand on these findings and further explore the capsule’s potential.

Source: Science Daily / DDW Photo Credit: Healthxchange

Physicists push new Parkinson’s treatment toward clinical trials

hands

The most effective way to tackle debilitating diseases is to punch them at the start and keep them from growing. Research shows that a small ‘molecular tweezer’ keeps proteins from clumping, or aggregating, the first step of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Research at Michigan State University, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, shows that a small “molecular tweezer” keeps proteins from clumping, or aggregating, the first step of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

The results are pushing the promising molecule toward clinical trials and actually becoming a new drug, said Lisa Lapidus, MSU associate professor of physics and astronomy and co-author of the paper.

“By the time patients show symptoms and go to a doctor, aggregation already has a stronghold in their brains,” she said. “In the lab, however, we can see the first steps, at the very place where the drugs could be the most effective. This could be a strong model for fighting Parkinson’s and other diseases that involve neurotoxic aggregation. Read more.

Additional article: Michael J. Fox: No more surgery for Parkinson’s Disease

Source: Michigan State University // Science Daily resp. www.amsvans.com, Photo: BMJ Learning

Experiments that point to a new understanding of cancer

Here is an amazing TED talk by Mina Bissell, Cancer Researcher.

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN

Mina Bissell’s groundbreaking research has proven that cancer is not only caused by cancer cells. It is caused by an interaction between cancer cells and the surrounding cellular micro-environment. In healthy bodies, normal tissue homeostasis and architecture inhibit the progression of cancers. But changes in the microenvironment–following an injury or a wound for instance–can shift the balance. This explains why many people harbor potentially malignant tumors in their bodies without knowing it and never develop cancer, and why tumors often develop when tissue is damaged or when the immune system is suppressed.

The converse can also be true. In a landmark 1997 experiment, mutated mammary cells, when dosed with an antibody and placed into a normal cellular micro-environment, behaved normally. This powerful insight from Bissell’s lab may lead to new ways of treating existing and preventing potential cancers.

What others say

“Bissell was not the first to claim that a cell’s microenvironment plays a role in the formation of tumors. But she showed how this happens…Still, she modestly maintains that her most important contribution is that she hammered away at her point for thirty years.”
— Kara Platoni, East Bay Express

 

First device to prevent migraine headaches wins FDA approval

lady-with-headache

The US Food and Drug Administration has given its first approval for the marketing of a device for preventing migraine headaches. The federal agency says the device, which comes in the form of a headband that delivers a nerve-stimulating low electrical current, may bring relief to patients who cannot tolerate current migraine drugs.

“This is also the first transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device specifically authorized for use prior to the onset of pain,” they told the press.

The Cefaly device is a small, battery-powered plastic headband that is worn across the forehead. The user attaches it with a self-adhesive electrode, just above the eyes. The device delivers a low electric current through the skin and may cause a tingling or massaging sensation. The current stimulates the trigeminal nerve, which has been associated with migraine headaches.

Read the whole article.

Human lungs successfully grown in a lab for the first time

lungs

Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston have succeeded in growing human lungs in the laboratory, using components from the lungs of deceased children.

Stem cell specialists have been working on growing lung tissue for some years, but the lung is a complex organ, which presents more problems than regenerating other organ tissue, such as human skin. Read more.

Photo credit: UTMB

Finding a way to do 3D surgery on the brain

3d glasses

Not only can 3D glasses be used in cinemas or other entertaining fields – they are also being used while carrying out critical surgeries. Surgeons carry out operations on the brain using 3D technology. Watch the short clip or read through the article.

Here’s another interesting article talking about the topic of endoscopic neurosurgery and endonasal surgery, also showing a 3D endoscope.

Drug-antibody pair has promising activity in non-Hodgkin lymphoma

A toxin linked to a targeted monoclonal antibody has shown “compelling” antitumor activity in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphomas who were no longer responding to treatment, according to a report from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The ongoing open-label phase 2 study presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting was designed to test the activity of
brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) in relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) including B-cell cancers such as diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

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The antibody-toxin compound has been approved for treatment of relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma and anaplastic T cell lymphoma, and its success prompted the trial in NHL, said Eric Jacobsen, MD, of Dana-Farber, senior author of the study. First author is Nancy Bartlett, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine.
To date, the trial has enrolled 62 patients with B-cell lymphomas, including 44 diagnosed with DLBCL. Most the patients were no longer responding to previous therapy, and 23 percent had never responded to any treatment.

Forty percent of the 43 evaluable DLBCL patients had an objective response to the drug with a median duration of 36 weeks, including some of more than eight months. Seven had complete remissions and 10 had partial remissions. In the other B-cell lymphoma patients, 22 had an objective response. Continue reading

A Common Liver Drug Could Be Key to Curing Parkinson’s

The tragedy of Parkinson’s, which progressively robs patients of their physical abilities, is that while certain drugs, therapies and devices can restore some quality of life, so far we haven’t found a way to stop brain cells from dying. Now, researchers in the UK and Norway have found a drug that could keep brain cells functioning normally — and it’s been used to treat liver disease for years.

Since UDCA has been in use for many years, researchers can move directly to clinical trials to determine the drug’s safety and optimum dosage in Parkinson’s patients. And for the first time, researchers can point to compounds that tackle the cellular cause of the disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms as they appear. [The University of Sheffield via ScienceDaily]

Curcumin and Knee Osteoarthritis

Curcumin and Knee  Osteoarthritis
One  hundred and seven patients with primary osteoarthritis of the knee were  studied, including those with knee pain on a scale of 5 to 10 in intensity;  radiographic osteophytes; and at least one of the following features: age  >50, morning stiffness <30 minutes in duration, and crepitus on motion.  The majority of the individuals were overweight women with a BMI >25.  Participants were asked to discontinue their knee pain medications and were  randomized to either ibuprofen 400 mg twice daily or Curcuma domestica extract,  500 mg four times daily for 6 weeks. Continue reading