Hardship could harm children’s language skills

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are three times more likely to develop difficulties with language than those from more affluent areas, research suggests.

Researchers say the findings highlight the need for policies to address the social factors that can hamper speech, language and communication (SLC) development.

Failing to do so means children might not fully develop the language skills that are critical for emotional development, wellbeing and educational and employment opportunities.

Health review

A team from the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian looked at more than 26,000 records of children who had a routine health review between 27 and 30 months between April 2013 and April 2016.

It showed that pre-school children living in the most economically deprived neighbourhoods were three times more likely to have SLC concern than those brought up in better-off areas.

It is believed growing up in neighbourhoods with low income and unemployment—which experience problems with education, health, access to services, crime and housing—can increase the risk of setbacks.

SLC concern reduction

Researchers also discovered that each week a child spent in the womb from 23 to 36 weeks was associated with an 8.8 percent decrease in the likelihood of them having an SLC concern reported at 27 months.

The study used birth data from children born in the Lothians but experts say similar results might be expected across the UK.

The study was part-funded by the Medical Research Council and is published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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Lymphoma stage at diagnosis may predict when and where new cancer forms

With improved treatments, especially the use of anti-cancer immunotherapies, more than two-thirds of all patients diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) will survive. However, after treatment, patients are at a small but real risk of developing a new cancer, called a second primary cancer. Now a Colorado study of long term DLBCL survivors shows, for the first time, that the stage at which DLBCL is originally diagnosed impacts the types of second cancers that may form after treatment.

“We have made tremendous progress in this field, and as a result, patients are living longer. Thus, survivorship has taken center stage in the management of these lymphomas. Given that these patients are at an increased risk of developing second primary cancers, our goal is to identify risk factors that can predict or mitigate this risk,” says Manali Kamdar, MD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Clinical Director of Lymphoma Services at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

The study explored the outcomes of 26,038 patients diagnosed with DLBCL between 1973 and 2010, more than half of whom were diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 disease, and a little less than half of whom were diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 disease. Overall, 13 percent of survivors went on to develop second primary cancers.

“We’ve known that, genetically, early and late stage disease is different, and our hypothesis was that the type and timing of secondary primary cancers may thus be different as well,” Kamdar says.

In fact, the study showed that compared with late-stage cancers, patients diagnosed with early-stage DLBCL had a higher risk of developing second primary cancers in the five years following successful treatment, and that these new cancers tended to be mostly solid tumors, such as those of the breast, colon, or prostate. In contrast, patients whose DLBCL was stage 3 or 4 at the time of diagnosis had an increased risk of developing second primary cancers in the 10-15-year window after successful treatment, and instead of solid tumors, these cancers tended to be hematologic malignancies, including forms of leukemia.

“This is a first step toward identifying tools in survivorship clinics to better surveil survivors. It benefits patients because we may be able to better identify risk,” Kamdar says.

For example, Kamdar, suggests that if a patient were to find low blood counts 10 years after treatment for late-stage DLBCL, it would warrant further testing given the risk associated with a history of late-stage DLBCL. Similarly, the study reinforces the need for DLBCL survivors to follow through with age-based screening recommendations, such as colonoscopies and mammograms.

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Stem cell transplant reverses disabling MS-like disease

A stem cell transplant reversed a debilitating neurological disease that causes half of the patients to go blind and lose the ability to walk five years after diagnosis. Most of the patients stayed better five years after the transplant and were able to avoid drug treatment that cost up to $500,000 yearly, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine and Mayo Clinic.

The disease is neuromyelitis optica, formerly classified as a rare subtype of multiple sclerosis (MS) but now considered a separate disease. Unlike MS and most other autoimmune disease, neuromyelitis optica has a biological marker, AQP4, that correlates with disease activity. After the stem cell transplant, patients no longer had discernable AQP4 in their blood.

“No prior therapy has caused AQP4 to consistently disappear or allowed patients to become treatment free,” said lead author Dr. Richard Burt, a professor of medicine and chief of immunotherapy and autoimmune disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician.

“There is marked difference between a transplant and the drug,” Burt said. “The transplant improved patients’ neurological disability and quality of life. They got better, and the disease maker disappeared for up to five years after transplant.”

The study was published Oct. 2 in Neurology.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester holds the patent for the biological marker AQP4 and did the biologic marker analysis in collaboration with Burt and Northwestern.

In the trial, 12 patients with neuromyelitis optica received the stem cell transplant.

“After five years, only two out of 12 relapsed and had to go back on drug therapy,” Burt said.

This is the fourth chronic disease hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has appeared to reverse.

The goal of HSCT is to reboot a faulty immune system. Hematopoietic stem cells are taken from the patient’s bone marrow or blood, then their immune stem is wiped out with chemotherapy. Next, their stem cells are reintroduced to the body where they migrate to the bone marrow, allowing their immune system to reset.

Burt pioneered the field. He was the first to propose the approach of HSCT for MS in a medical publication, the first to do it in pre-clinical animal models and the first in America to treat MS patients with HSCT. Burt also conducted the first randomized HSCT trials for systemic sclerosis and multiple sclerosis, with strongly positive results.

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An oral anticoagulant delays the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease in mice

Scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) have identified a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Working together with a scientific team at the Rockefeller University in New York, the investigators have shown that treatment with the oral anticoagulant dabigatran delays the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

The results published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) show that after a year of treatment with dabigatran, mice had no memory loss and no reduction in cerebral circulation. This treatment also reduced typical Alzheimer symptoms, including cerebral inflammation, blood vessel injury, and amyloid protein plaques.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that affects more than 30 million people worldwide. Research in recent years has linked the disease to a reduction in the cerebral circulation; this results in an insufficient supply of nutrients and oxygen to brain cells, leading to their death. Alzheimer’s disease is also known to be a multifactorial disorder linked to an underlying chronic prothrombotic state. The present study combined physiological and molecular studies to demonstrate that long-term anticoagulation with dabigatran effectively slows disease progression in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Population aging is predicted to result in a three-fold increase of the number of Alzheimer patients by 2050. A new case of the disease is diagnosed every three seconds, and unfortunately, the treatments available today only provide a temporary respite from the advance of memory loss and do not stop disease progression or reverse the symptoms.

Dabigatran is more effective and has fewer side effects than classical anticoagulants and is approved for the treatment of several diseases. Study coordinator Dr. Marta Cortés Canteli, a CNIC researcher funded through the Miguel Servet program, highlighted the value of the study; “This discovery marks an important advance toward the translation of our results to clinical practice to achieve an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Discussing the implications of the study in more detail, Dr. Cortés Canteli explained that “winning the battle against Alzheimer’s disease will require individualized combination therapy targeting the various processes that contribute to this disease. One goal is to improve the cerebral circulation, and our study shows that treatment with oral anticoagulants has the potential to be an effective approach in Alzheimer patients with a tendency to coagulation.”

Placing the study in a broader context, Dr. Valentín Fuster, CNIC General Director and a lead author on the study, said, “Neurodegenerative diseases are very closely linked to disease in the cerebral blood vessels. The study of the links between the brain and heart is the major challenge for the next ten years.”

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Cameron Mathison Reveals He Is 'Cancer-Free' in First Public Appearance After Kidney Surgery

Cameron Mathison

Cameron Mathison is cancer-free!

Over the weekend, the Hallmark Channel host, 50, attended the American Humane Hero Dog Awards in Beverly Hills with his wife Vanessa, and shared on Instagram that his kidney cancer surgery last month was a success.

“First night out post surgery at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards🐶💪🏼😌 Grateful to be feeling so strong and have this incredible woman by my side🙏🏼❤️#herodogawards2019 #hallmarkchannel #cancerfree,” Mathison wrote of the sweet shot of the couple.

In an interview with Extra on the red carpet, Mathison gave an update on his health post-surgery.

“I’m feeling really, really well,” he said. “It’s three weeks out of surgery and I honestly didn’t even think I would be feeling up to coming here. The recovery has been great, the surgery went really well, the prognosis is very optimistic.”

The former All My Children star revealed Sept. 10 that he had renal cell carcinoma, or kidney cancer. A week later, he underwent partial nephrectomy surgery — a difficult procedure where doctors remove a tumor while only taking out a small portion of the kidney.

“They removed the tumor on my right kidney and in doing so they removed part of the kidney itself and left the majority of it, and when they did the pathology report and they checked the margins around the tumor, all of that was free and clear of cancer and that led them to believe that all the cancer was out and gone. The cancer has not spread … so I am cancer free,” Mathison explained.

The TV host recalled to the outlet how he got an MRI done after experiencing stomach pains, and learned that the tumor on his kidney had been growing for eight to 10 years.

“I’ll get goosebumps,” he said. “I get teary talking about it, but Vanessa’s dad passed away from cancer … I would hear that maybe at that time he wasn’t as much of an advocate for his own health.”

“He wasn’t proactive,” added Vanessa, who has been married to Mathison since 2002.

“That helped me, kind of motivated me to stay on top of it,” Mathison said of his father-in-law’s death. “I knew my energy was low, I knew these tests didn’t make sense … I knew something was up. Really listen to your body, be an advocate.”

Two days after his Sept. 18 surgery, Mathison announced to his Instagram followers that it went “very well.”

“The tumor is gone and I even got to keep 80% of my kidney 😊,” Mathison posted on Instagram, along with a photo of him in his hospital bed surrounded by his two kids, Leila, 13, and Lucas, 16. “We are all optimistic.”

The actor told his fans that he would keep them updated on his health and thanked them for their encouragement.

“Feeling loved and supported by my family and friends, including each and every one of you,” he said. “I’ve been very overwhelmed and so grateful for all of the supportive comments and prayers.”

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Experimental growth factor shows promise for treating knee osteoarthritis

More than 10 percent of Americans over age 60 experience knee pain related to osteoarthritis, the most common disease of the knee joint. Osteoarthritis of the knee causes pain, activity limitation, physical disability, reduced health-related quality of life and excess mortality compared with the general population. The pain is usually treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, local steroid injections and sometimes surgery. There are currently no drugs approved to treat the underlying cause of the condition, which results from the breakdown of joint cartilage covering the long bones due to increasing age, injury/overuse, obesity, genetics and/or local inflammation. A new experimental growth factor therapy, however, appears to prevent a worsening of osteoarthritis by increasing the thickness of cartilage in the knee joint and preventing further loss, according to results from an early clinical trial that were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), involved 549 volunteers with knee osteoarthritis who were randomly assigned to get injections of the drug sprifermin, recombinant human fibroblast growth factor 18, either at a low dose of 30 micrograms (μg) or a high dose of 100 μg, either once or twice a year, or assigned to get placebo injections. The researchers found that those who received a 100 μg dose either twice or once yearly experienced a statistically significant but slight gain in joint cartilage thickness after two years as measured on quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a gain of 0.03 or 0.02 millimeters (mm) compared to the placebo group that lost 0.02 mm of cartilage during the two-year period. Those given smaller doses had smaller gains in cartilage; indeed, the gains in the lower dose groups were not deemed to be statistically or clinically significant.

Patients treated with the higher dose of sprifermin, however, did not experience any significant improvement in their arthritis symptoms—including pain, stiffness, and physical dysfunction like walking difficulties—compared to those given the lower dose or those given placebo injections.

“While the increase in cartilage thickness is a positive sign, we do not know at this point whether it has any clinical significance,” said study lead investigator Marc Hochberg, MD, MPH a Professor of Medicine at UMSOM. “It is not known whether those who experience increased cartilage thickness over time will be able to avoid or delay knee replacement surgery.”

While injections were stopped after 18 months, the analyses showed that the difference between groups that received the higher dose of sprifermin and placebo persisted out to three years. The study was designed to continue for a total of five years and future analyses of the entire trial dataset are planned.

In a more recent post-hoc analysis of the data, Dr. Hochberg and his colleagues evaluated a subgroup of osteoarthritis patients with severe pain and narrow joint space in their knee who were at higher risk of disease progression; they found that those in the group who received sprifermin 100μg every six months experienced significant improvements in their arthritis symptoms 18 months after their last injection compared to those who received placebo injections. “These results support further investigation of sprifermin as a potential osteoarthritis treatment for both structure modification and symptom relief for higher-risk patient populations,” Dr. Hochberg said. These results were presented in June at the European Congress of Rheumatology’s annual meeting,

“Finding an effective therapy that can treat the cause of common chronic pain conditions like osteoarthritis would be a ground-breaking achievement,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, Ph.D., MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “I’m proud that our scientists are helping to move the knowledge forward on the effectiveness of new therapies to replace worn cartilage in the joints. This is very important work, and more answers are certainly needed.”

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How to keep cool in a blackout during a heatwave

Researchers from the University’s Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory simulated heatwave conditions to examine the effect of using water in different ways—on a person’s core temperature, cardiovascular strain, risk of dehydration and comfort levels.

The results, published today in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), show that compared to just drinking water, applying normal tap water to the chest, arms, back, legs and face with a sponge in simulated heatwave conditions, lowered cardiovascular strain, halved the rate of dehydration and improved thermal comfort. Immersing the feet in water above the ankles was also better than just drinking water, but not as effective as self-dousing. The findings were similar in both a hot/humid, and very hot/dry conditions.

Senior author Associate Professor Ollie Jay of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Charles Perkins Centre said with numerous all-time temperature records being set across the world in 2019, developing evidence-based health advice to help protect people against heat-related illness in a range of different settings has never been more important.

“The electricity needed to sustain mass cooling with air conditioning during heatwaves is proving increasingly unsustainable, and the threat of power blackouts is becoming more common in densely populated cities across the world.”

“In times of very high electricity demand during a heatwave, power grids sometimes can’t manage, leaving many people without any electricity at all. Water pressure is usually preserved though so people still have tap water. We wanted to systematically assess how this water can be best used to lessen the physiological strain, such as increases in heart rate and progressive dehydration, that develops during extreme heat exposure.

“Usually people are just told to drink water, but our findings show that the extra evaporative heat loss you can get from also applying water across the body with a sponge can make a difference. Immersing the feet in water can also help, but it’s not as effective as self-dousing.”


Led by former University of Sydney Ph.D. student Nathan Morris, in a total of 90 trials, a mix of male and female volunteers were monitored for thermal strain (rectal temperature), cardiovascular strain (heart rate and blood pressure), risk for dehydration (whole body sweat rate), and thermal comfort (assessed using 120-mm visual analogue scale) over a 2-hour exposure to simulated peak conditions of two types of heat waves. One that was very hot and dry replicating the peak conditions of the California heatwave in July 2018, and one that was cooler but more humid and with a higher heat index representing the peak conditions during the Chicago heatwave in July 1995, and Shanghai heatwave in July 2017.

Next steps:

Associate Professor Jay said that the findings of the current study may also have a potential application to cities in developing countries that have limited drinking water. According to the World Health Organisation unclean drinking water is responsible for more deaths than even war, yet the number one public health recommendation in a heatwave is to drink water. However, if water is sufficiently clean to apply to the skin, the subsequent evaporation might reduce the need for sweating to the extent that people may be able to stay hydrated without drinking as much water.

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Unpleasant mucus in the throat: These five tips and home remedies help

Mucus in the throat is an ugly side-effect of flu-like infections and is accompanied by frequent throat clearing and coughing. Usually the mucus Symptom occurs in combination with a strong cold. Finally, nose, throat, and neck are closely related. Although the cold subsides, keeps mucus-like, persistent. These five home remedies can help the mucus in the neck to get rid of.

1. Drink a lot

A drink sounds deceptively simple. Nevertheless, many people forget to take plenty of liquids. In particular, those who suffer from a cold, has an increased need. Ideal unsweetened teas and water are suitable. You can drink as much as you want, because no harmful ingredients are included. So you get out to rinse the unpleasant mucus and liquefy stuck mucus, so that it can run off better.

2. Anti-Bacterial Ginger

Ginger is used as a natural remedy, and should be able to heal due to its anti-bacterial effect of infections. The infection which causes the mucus produced is fought without the use of chemicals. It is best to use a fresh ginger root and pour hot water. Ginger you can find in any supermarket. If you don’t like the sharp taste, may be a lemon. The tea tastes pleasantly sour, and the sharpness fades into the Background. A sweet touch you can add when you give the honey in the tea. Lemon has the positive side effect that it contains a lot of Vitamin C. This strengthens the weakened immune system in addition.

3. Clean Nose Shower

Tools, the get along without the use of chemicals, protect the mucous membranes and ensure a sustainable effect. A simple and very effective means of mucus in the neck to get rid of the shower room is a nose. Use of the nasal douche, in combination with a Nasenspül salt.

It comes without preservatives and chemical additives, and ensures that the mucus throat gently from the nose, and the neck area is rinsed. In addition, the process moisturizes the mucous membranes and stabilizes them again. This not only ensures a fast remedy, but also prevents new infections. Good nose showers can be found in different pharmacies, or here on Amazon.

Tip: For people with allergies is a nasal douche is also a good investment, because Allergy sufferers are familiar with the unpleasant symptoms of an Allergy, which include mucus and Scraping in the throat may include.

4. Natural Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is said to have the property, to can mucus in the throat decompose. You mix two tablespoons with warm water and gargle with it. So, get rid of the annoying mucus in and out to flush the bacteria. Make sure that when you purchase the Apple cider vinegar to the fact that it is untreated and naturally cloudy Apple vinegar. Only in valuable ingredients such as various vitamins and trace elements are included. Here you will find, for example, a cloudy, organic Apple cider vinegar on Amazon.

5. Soothing Honey

Honey can have a soothing and soothing effect on irritated mucous membranes. He lays down on the mucous membranes and to reduce the urge to cough. Also you can sweet to a variety of teas. So ginger tea, and co. taste better and it even easier to absorb much liquid.

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Important steps to prevent dementia

Alzheimer’s disease wreaks emotional havoc on patients, who are robbed of their memories, their dignity, and their lives. It’s financially devastating as well: care for Alzheimer’s patients is predicted to top $1 trillion by the time children born today are having children of their own.

More than 70,000 Kentuckians are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which likely means that you know someone who has been impacted—directly or indirectly—by dementia. And since that number is expected to rise to more than 85,000 in the next five years or so, Alzheimer’s will likely hit closer to home for many of us.

Dementia refers to the decline of mental ability. Alzheimer’s disease is the more prevalent type of dementia, but also fairly common is vascular dementia. Often mislabeled as “senility,” it is erroneously believed that dementia is a normal part of aging, when in fact, it is a substantial mental decline that can interfere with a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks.

Dementia is a complex disease, and age and genetics can affect your risk. Though we can’t change those factors, steps can be taken to reduce your risk.

One of the most important steps is keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy. Vascular dementia is linked to a lack of oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain. You can protect the network of blood vessels in your brain by quitting tobacco and keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol in check with a diet of whole grains, fruits, fish and healthy fats.

Keeping your mind and body active can also reduce your risk. Regular physical exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and can even slow the mental deterioration in those who have already have problems with memory. Learning a new skill such as dancing, woodworking, making art, a foreign language or even doing puzzles and playing games can offset your risk. Stay socially active by regularly meeting up with friends or volunteer in your community.

Some medicines and supplements, alone or in combination, can produce side effects that look like memory loss. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see whether changes in medication might help reduce these side effects. In addition, while many ads for supplements claim to improve memory and/or prevent memory loss, there is no proof that they are effective.

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New study challenges our understanding of premature ageing

Disturbances in the function of mitochondrial DNA can accelerate the ageing process in ways that are different than previously thought, according to a new Finnish study published in Nature Metabolism. Offering a new perspective to ageing, the researchers suggest that accelerated ageing is the result of abnormal cell nucleotide levels and compromised nuclear DNA maintenance. The study was conducted in collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki.

Mitochondria are small powerhouse organelles that have their own DNA, the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). For almost half a century, mitochondrial DNA mutations and oxidative stress have been asserted as major contributors to aging, as postulated in the mitochondrial theory of aging published in the 70s. The theory has been tested on the mtDNA Mutator mice that have an inactive DNA repair mechanism. These mice accumulate mtDNA mutations and present with accelerated aging, which has led scientists to believe that mtDNA mutagenesis drives aging. However, despite rigorous studies by several groups, no one has been able to show that the Mutator mice would present elevated oxidative stress.

The new study challenges this theory on the role of oxidative stress and mtDNA mutations in ageing, and proposes an alternative explanation for the Mutator mice aging, namely compromised nuclear DNA maintenance. The new theory is also consistent with observations made in progeria syndromes, which cause premature ageing in humans.

The prematurely-ageing Mutator mice harbour a defective polymerase-gamma enzyme and present with pronounced mtDNA mutagenesis. Despite the existence of other mouse models with equivalent mtDNA mutagenic propensity, the Mutator mouse model is the only one manifesting accelerated aging. Furthermore, progeria is not a clinical feature of mitochondrial disease patients, not even in those with the most severe mtDNA mutagenic profiles. Rather, the clinical picture of the mtDNA Mutator mice is remarkably similar to that of other mouse progeria models and human progeric syndromes with nuclear genome instability, with the most prominent defects in proliferating cells, and especially in stem and progenitor cells important for tissue regeneration.

Mitochondrial DNA replication can steal nucleotides from nucleotide DNA maintenance

The new study shows that in addition to the mtDNA maintenance defects, the Mutator mice also manifest nuclear DNA defects, including replication fork stalling, increased DNA-breaks and activation of DNA damage response pathways. So, how can a primary mitochondrial DNA maintenance defect affect the maintenance of nuclear genome? Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA, and proper cellular nucleotide levels are critical for genome maintenance. Moreover, the cytoplasmic and mitochondrial nucleotide pools are interconnected. The researchers show that in the Mutator mice, the total cellular nucleotide levels are decreased, while the mitochondrial nucleotide pools are increased, suggesting preferential usage of nucleotides in the mitochondria. Indeed, the replication of mtDNA is drastically accelerated in the cells of the Mutator mice.

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