Pot Problems

May 21st, 2018 Brandon Duvall

  With the increasing popularity and public acceptance of Marijuana. More children than ever are being introduced to the drug before more conventional substances, like alcohol or tobacco. This is leading to the possible need for drug intervention and treatment programs to help with those with a Marijuana use problem. Though there has been an increased use of Marijuana, some argue that this is a positive shift in drug usage. This is due to the overall health hazards of Marijuana being less than those of Alcohol and Tobacco. That doesn’t, however, make this a positive choice for young American’s to make ad as the study stated will likely lead to rehabilitation and intervention programs.

Brian J. Fairman, C. Debra Furr-Holden, Renee M. Johnson. When Marijuana Is Used before Cigarettes or Alcohol: Demographic Predictors and Associations with Heavy Use, Cannabis Use Disorder, and Other Drug-related Outcomes. Prevention Science, 2018

Alcohol and Dementia Correlated

Mar 1st, 2018 Brandon Duvall

Credit: © pathdoc / Fotolia

  Recently one of the largest studies of its kind regarding alcohol use disorders, found a correlation between early-onset dementia and chronic harmful use of alcohol. Of the observed 57,000 cases, 57% of them were related to chronic heavy alcohol use. The World Health Organization defines chronic heavy drinking as, consuming 60 grams of pure alcohol per day. (3-4 American Standard Drinks for men; 2 American Standard Drinks for women.)

Dr. Rehm and his group researched the correlation to chronic alcohol use and dementia due to it being among the most preventable risk factors for early-onset dementia. On average, alcohol related disorders shorten life expectancy by more than 20 years. With this data showing the correlation between chronic alcohol use and dementia, early prevention is among the most important goals to achieve. Though this is true for most pathologies, after long term chronic alcohol use, the neuronal damage becomes too severe for cell mediated repair. Making prevention among the only ways to reduce the chance of alcohol related disorders.

Michaël Schwarzinger, Bruce G Pollock, Omer S M Hasan, Carole Dufouil, Prof Jürgen Rehm, QalyDays Study Group. Contribution of alcohol use disorders to the burden of dementia in France 2008–13: a nationwide retrospective cohort study. The Lancet Public Health, 2018

Cardiac Repair Via Dime Sized Patch

Jan 14th, 2018 Brandon Duvall

Credit: University of Alabama Birmingham

  Led by Jianyi "Jay" Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. a research team at University of Alabama Birmingham were able to create cardio-muscle patches. When applied to dead cardiac tissue it can help reduce the pathology that leads to heart failure. Ths dime sized patch is filled with 4 million cardiomyocytes, 2 million endothelial cells, and 2 million smooth-muscle cells. The tissues were all cultured and developed in a three-dimensional fibrin matrix that was rocked back and forth for a week. They begin to be synchronously after one day of being transplanted. In test on infarcted pig heart the patches were able to reduce the size of the infac and increase the pumping efficiency of the left ventricle. The best thing is, the patches didn’t induce arrhythmia, so they are able to be used for heart attack patients. Whoo Hoo Science!

Ling Gao, Zachery R. Gregorich, Wuqiang Zhu, Saidulu Mattapally, Yasin Oduk, Xi Lou, Ramaswamy Kannappan, Anton V. Borovjagin, Gregory P. Walcott, Andrew E. Pollard, Vladimir G. Fast, Xinyang Hu, Steven G. Lloyd, Ying Ge, Jianyi Zhang. Large Cardiac-Muscle Patches Engineered from Human Induced-Pluripotent Stem-Cell-Derived Cardiac Cells Improve Recovery from Myocardial Infarction in Swine. Circulation, 2017

New Ways To Combat Obesity with Science!

Jan 14th, 2018 Brandon Duvall

Credit: Credit: Brown University

  Researchers at Brown University have identified an enzyme that appears to regulate the physiology of both fat types in mice. It decreased inflammation in white fat tissue, while promoting the ability of brown fat tissue to burn calories. "This study suggests that there may be dual benefits if we can find a way to enhance SNRK production in fat tissue," said Simin Liu, a study co-corresponding author and professor of epidemiology in Brown's School of Public Health and professor of medicine at the Alpert School of Medicine. This could mean great things for the future of dietary plans and ways to combat obesity. It also will be wonderful for those genetically predisposed to obesity. Kudos to the amazing research team at Brown University.

Jie Li, Bin Feng, Yaohui Nie, Ping Jiao, Xiaochen Lin, Mengna Huang, Ran An, Qin He, Huilin Emily Zhou, Arthur Salomon, Kirsten S Sigrist, Zhidan Wu, Simin Liu, Haiyan Xu. Sucrose Non-Fermenting Related Kinase Regulates Both Adipose Inflammation and Energy Homeostasis in Mice and Humans. Diabetes, 2018.

Be Quiet DNA, Geneticist Run This Show

Jan 5th, 2018 Brandon Duvall

Credit: Lab Ken Zaret PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

 Ken Zaret and his team have unravelled tightly wound sections of DNA that are difficult for gene activators to reach on their own. This unravelling is allowing us to rethink the field of cellular programming. CrispR having been founded in 1987 uses similar techniques for gene editing. With innovations like this genetic disorders and pathologies will slowly become less prevalent, that is at least those that we are aware of now.

In the study above the team at Perelman School of Medicine focused on activating genes in skin cells (Blue) to re-differentiate them to new liver cells (Red and Green). This year has already brought us great new technological paradigms, it is sure to be an amazing year to report on new findings.

Justin S. Becker, Ryan L. McCarthy, Simone Sidoli, Greg Donahue, Kelsey E. Kaeding, Zhiying He, Shu Lin, Benjamin A. Garcia, Kenneth S. Zaret. Genomic and Proteomic Resolution of Heterochromatin and Its Restriction of Alternate Fate Genes. Molecular Cell, 2017.