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Injuries to spinal cord – treated with hESC therapy: Study

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During the past 2 decades, cell-based therapies for SCI have been researched in several studies. Replacement of damaged neural tissues and re-establishing connections between the central and peripheral nervous system is vital for the treatment strategy for patients with SCI. Thus, the cells having a potential of self-renewal and differentiating into multiple cell types would be best suited for patients with SCI. Dr Geeta Shroff, director Nutech Mediworld, in a recent research has published report on how human embryonic stem cells (hESC’s) can treat spinal cord injuries (SCI).

The findings are first of its kind as the cell line developed was free from animal products and chromosomally stable.

The uniqueness about the cell line that makes it exclusive is that the process of cell line was derived from a single hESC which is already patented and published in her earlier reports.

 

A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) can be any damage to the spinal cord that changes its function, temporary or permanently.

SCI is a challenging neurological injury and is associated with permanent disability and decreased life expectancy.

The complex series of pathological events involved in SCI result in long-lasting locomotor and sensory neuron degeneration below the injury. There have been several strategies to improve neurological recovery, such as surgical intervention, physiotherapy, and pharmacological interventions, but none of these have proven to be effective.

Replacement of damaged neural tissue, enhancement of endogenous neural regeneration, and modulation of the inflammatory response after SCI are the key elements in restoring function after SCI.

Research done by Dr Geeta Shroff on Stem cell transplantation proves to be a promising technology that has the potential to replace damaged neurons, reestablish lost axonal connections, and provide neuro-protective factors to allow for healing and recovery after SCI. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) play a vital role in treating neurological disorders and have a huge potential for differentiation and can provide neuronal or glial cells for transplantation.

Most embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from egg which are donated during IVF which otherwise is a medical waste.

The institutional committee for stem cell research and therapy of Nutech Mediworld reported all the work with respect to embryonic stem cells to the National Apex Body and the Indian Council of Medical Research. An independent ethics committee approved the study protocol. The data of a single cohort of patients with SCI treated with hESCs conducted during 24 May 2005 to 31 August 2012 at a single site in New Delhi, India, were collected retrospectively. She started the research in 2002, with 33 patients suffering from incurable diseases. Thereafter the safety and efficacy of the therapy, dose schedule, and protocol for administration of hESCs and therapy schedule were established in a pilot study conducted on 72 patients. With the success of her pilot study, another study was done on 108 patients with SCI that verified the safety and efficacy of hESC in patient with SCI. She has filed a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization, covering over 126 countries.

“The present study with 226 patients with SCI was undertaken after these two studies. A number of studies conducted in animal models has observed hESC-derived cells to be able to differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes and neurons in patients with SCI. The study was performed under proper supervision of a team of physicians that included external consultants and validated by an external clinical research organization. The patients were scored as per ASIA scale by independent physicians before and after the treatment and by the in-house physicians and the rehabilitation team.” Says Dr shroff. After confirmation of diagnosis, the patients were tested for hypersensitivity reactions with hESCs (0.05 mL hESC injected subcutaneously). The study consisted of three treatment phases with gap phases in between so that the hESCs could grow, repair, and regenerate the affected part. After the hypersensitivity testing, the patients entered the treatment phase, T1, T2, T3. Each treatment phase lasted 4–6 weeks and was 4–8 months apart. The physicians continuously administered the hESCs. No immune-suppressants were given to the patients. In addition to hESC therapy, all the patients received physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The rehabilitation focused on overall improvement of the patient and mobilization of the patient was performed using different ambulatory aids

The findings and results of the research showed dramatic changes in each phase.” Out of the 226 patients examined 3/4th were men with a mean age of 28 years. At the end of T1, 45% of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade. At the end of T2, 58% of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade, and at the end of T3, 70% of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade” concluded Dr Shroff.?

Dr.Geeta Shroff,Director & Stem Cell Expert,

Nutech Mediworld, New Delhi


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Unable To Get Pregnant? Could Be Because Of Diabetes

The Kashmir Monitor

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Diabetes, commonly described as a “lifestyle disease”, can contribute to infertility in both women and men, warn health experts.

“Diabetes can cause infertility in both men and women. Both sexes are at equal risk of infertility,” S.K. Wangnoo, endocrinologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said.

Infertility affects up to 15 per cent of reproductive-aged couples worldwide. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall prevalence of primary infertility in India is between 3.9 per cent to 16.8 per cent.

 

“Diabetes in men damages DNA of the sperm and leads to reduced number of sperms and reduced motility of sperms which leads to infertility. Although having diabetes does not necessarily make men infertile, it could make them less fertile,” added Roopak Wadhwa, Consultant at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.

On the other hand, diabetes in women is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other autoimmune diseases that can lead to infertility.

“Diabetes causes a lack of glucose control in the body which, in turn, can make the implantation of the fertile egg in the uterus difficult. Therefore, the chances of miscarriage in diabetic women increase between 30-60 per cent,” Wadhwa explained.

Another WHO report had stated that India had 69.2 million people living with diabetes in 2015.

By 2030, nearly 98 million people in India may have Type-2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal last year.

While diabetic patients can always try parenthood, the risk of passing on the sugar disease to the child is approximately 50 per cent high, Wangnoo stated.

“It can also cause intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) and congenital anomalies. IUGR is a condition where an unborn baby is smaller than it should be because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the womb,” Wadhwa added.

Furthermore, he noted that diabetic mothers are at high risk of premature deliveries, abortions and perinatal (during birth) complications.

High diabetes can be risky for both mother and child. The experts suggest that maintaining a good lifestyle, an ideal body weight, keeping sugars within target range, avoiding smoking and alcohol and excessive work related stress are some of the preventive measures.

Besides infertility, diabetes can also raise the risk of cardiovascular and lung disease, arthritis, osteoporosis. An estimated 3.4 million deaths are caused due to high blood sugar, according to the WHO.

The global health body also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030.

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Here Are 5 Sources Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids You Must Include In Your Diet

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Omega 3 fatty acids are important for heart health. It is well known that fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel etc are all good sources of fatty fish. However, there are many other vegetarian food items that are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. It is important to include omega 3 fatty acids in your diet as it can help in reducing inflammation, risk of dementia and prevent heart diseases. And while it may be slightly challenging for vegans and vegetarians to include omega 3 in diet, following is a list of few plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Sources of omega 3 fatty acids for vegetarians

1. Walnuts:

 

Walnuts are a storehouse of healthy fats including omega 3 fatty acids. Healthline informs that 65% of walnuts comprise fat by weight. Walnuts are one of the healthiest varieties of nuts and can help in weight loss, improving heart health and brain health. Studies have shown that including walnuts in your diet can improve your memory.

2. Chia seeds:

Benefits of chia seeds are many. But the best part about them is that they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and even protein. Including chia seeds in your diet can help you lose weight and improve cholesterol levels in the body. You can add chia seeds to smoothies, salads, nuts, yogurt, etc.

3. Hemp seeds:

Hemp seeds contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, iron, zinc and magnesium. Hemp seeds have been found to help in prevention of blood clot formation and also help in recovering from heart attack. You can also take a dose of hemp seed oil by pressing hemp seeds. This will provide you a more concentrated version omega 3 fatty acids.

4. Flaxseeds:

Fibre rich flaxseeds are a good source of fibre, manganese, protein, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. Including flaxseeds in your diet can help in bringing an improvement in your blood pressure levels. You can eat flaxseeds with nuts, add them to soups, salads, etc.

5. Brussels sprouts:

Yes, Brussel sprouts too are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. They are also rich in Vitamin C, fibre and Vitamin K. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts can help in lowering risk of heart disease.

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Obesity-causing genes identified

The Kashmir Monitor

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Researchers have identified genetic variants associated with obesity that is central to developing targeted interventions to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like hypertension, Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found genetic sites that affect human body’s size and shape, including height and obesity. The findings will help understand how genes can predispose certain individuals to obesity.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers found 24 coding loci (or positions) — 15 common and nine rare — along chromosomes of individuals that predispose to higher waist-to-hip ratio.

 

Higher values of waist-to-hip ratio are associated with more incidence of diseases associated with obesity.

“For the first time, we were able to examine, on a large scale, how low-frequency and rare variants influence body fat distribution,” said North.

“A better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of body fat distribution may lead to better treatments for obesity and other downstream diseases obesity also impacts, for example Type-2 diabetes and heart disease,” suggested North.

Further analysis revealed pathways and gene sets that influenced not only metabolism but also regulation of body fat tissue, bone growth and adiponectin, a hormone that controls glucose levels and breaks down fat.

Performing functional studies across other organisms, the team also identified two genes that were associated with significant increase in triglyceride and body fat across species.

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