Archive for the ‘Medicine’ Category

An intestinal cell monolayer after exposure to nanoparticles, shown in green.
An intestinal cell monolayer after exposure to nanoparticles, shown in green.

Abstract:
Billions of engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals are ingested by humans daily, and new Cornell research warns they may be more harmful to health than previously thought.

Nanoparticles in food, vitamins could harm human health

Ithaca, NY | Posted on February 16th, 2012

A research collaboration led by Michael Shuler, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Chemical Engineering and the James and Marsha McCormick Chair of Biomedical Engineering, studied how large doses of polystyrene nanoparticles — a common, FDA-approved material found in substances from food additives to vitamins — affected how well chickens absorbed iron, an essential nutrient, into their cells.

The results were reported online Feb. 12 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

According to the study, high-intensity, short-term exposure to the particles initially blocked iron absorption, whereas longer-term exposure caused intestinal cell structures to change, allowing for a compensating uptick in iron absorption.

The researchers tested both acute and chronic nanoparticle exposure using human gut cells in petri dishes as well as live chickens and reported matching results. They chose chickens because these animals absorb iron into their bodies similarly to humans, and they are also similarly sensitive to micronutrient deficiencies, explained Gretchen Mahler, Ph.D. ’08, the paper’s first author and former Cornell graduate student and postdoctoral associate.

The researchers used commercially available, 50-nanometer polystyrene carboxylated particles that are generally considered safe for human consumption. They found that following acute exposure, a few minutes to a few hours after consumption, both the absorption of iron in the in vitro cells and the chickens decreased.

But following exposure of 2 milligrams per kilogram for two weeks — a slower, more chronic intake — the structure of the intestinal villi began to change and increase in surface area. This was an effective physiological remodeling that led to increased iron absorption.

“This was a physiological response that was unexpected,” Mahler said.

Shuler noted that in some sense this intestinal villi remodeling was positive because it shows the body adapts to challenges. But it serves to underscore how such particles, which have been widely studied and considered safe, cause barely detectable changes that could lead to, for example, over-absorption of other, harmful compounds.

Human exposure to nanoparticles is only increasing, Shuler continued.

“Nanoparticles are entering our environment in many different ways,” Shuler said. “We have some assurance that at a gross level they are not harmful, but there may be more subtle effects that we need to worry about.”

The paper included Cornell co-authors Mandy Esch, a research associate in biomedical engineering; Elad Tako, a research associate at the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health; Teresa Southard, assistant professor of biomedical sciences; Shivaun Archer, senior lecturer in biomedical engineering; and Raymond Glahn, senior scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service and courtesy associate professor in the Department of Food Science. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation; New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research; Army Corp of Engineers; and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Article Source Link: http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=44525

JP

  • Mobile phone could diagnose a range of diseases including cancer and diabetes
  • Scientists believe technology could save billions in healthcare costs
Breakthrough: South Korean scientists have developed new technology which they believe could result in smartphones - such as an iPhone - being able to diagnose diseasesBreakthrough: South Korean scientists have developed new technology which they believe could result in smartphones – such as an iPhone – being able to diagnose diseases

When we are feeling under the weather a visit to the doctors’ surgery or hospital is a necessary evil to find out what is wrong with us.

But, if a team of scientists have their way, we may soon be able to get a diagnosis for our illnesses simply by using a mobile phone from the comfort of the armchair.

Backed by government funding, South Korean scientists have developed new mobile-phone technology designed to diagnose disease.

Incredibly, this could result in instant diagnosis’ for illnesses from just a droplet of blood or saliva on a Smartphone’s touchscreen.

And those behind the revolutionary technology say the recognition rate is almost 100 per cent accurate and as effective as conventional medical equipment.

The technology was developed on the basis of the touchscreen’s capacity to detect the minute electrical signals generated by a fingertip’s touch.

That ability is called ‘capacitive sensitivity’.

A team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology said when its technology is commercialised, it will revolutionise diagnostic medicine around the world.

Professor Park Hyun-Gyu says his team’s research will enable mobile phones to diagnose a range of diseases from cancer to diabetes.

He said biomolecules, like those produced by diseases, transmit similar signals that a touchscreen can recognise.

Mr Hyun-Gyu said: ‘If you have a certain type of DNA or proteins, the touchscreen would react in the same way as a finger’s electrical signal is detected.’

Excited: Professor Park Hyun-Gyu is one of those working on the new smartphone technology
Cautious: Researcher Won Byoung-Yeon says more work needs to be done before the technology to diagnose illnesses on smartphones can be perfected

Breakthrough: Professor Park Hyun-Gyu, left, and researcher Won Byoung-Yeon are two of the scientists working on the new smartphone technology

The team believe they are the first to demonstrate that a touchscreen can be used to detect biomolecules.

But researcher Won Byoung-Yeon says more work needs to be done before the technology is perfected.

He said: ‘Currently, we’ve reached the level where we can detect certain biomolecules’ existence or concentration, but we can’t define what the biomolecule is.

‘Therefore, we’re producing a film covered in a substance which can selectively react to certain biomolecules so that we can determine what those biomolecules are.’

Once it’s moved beyond the laboratory, the team believes the technology could transform diagnostic techniques, and save billions in healthcare costs.

It could be applied to inexpensively diagnose diseases in environments like nursing homes or mobile clinics, and radically reduce the necessity and expense of sending samples to a lab for testing.

The International telecommunications Union says billions of people use mobile phones around the world every day.

The idea of exposing their touchscreens to saliva or blood samples may not appeal to many, but according to Mr Hyun-Gyu’s team the practice will one day save time, money and lives.

Devices could help doctors with stored medical information

Medical milestone or privacy invasion? A tiny computer chip approved Wednesday for implantation in a patient’s arm can speed vital information about a patient’s medical history to doctors and hospitals. But critics warn that it could open new ways to imperil the confidentiality of medical records.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that Applied Digital Solutions of Delray Beach, Fla., could market the VeriChip, an implantable computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, for medical purposes.

With the pinch of a syringe, the microchip is inserted under the skin in a procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and leaves no stitches. Silently and invisibly, the dormant chip stores a code that releases patient-specific information when a scanner passes over it.

Think UPC code. The identifier, emblazoned on a food item, brings up its name and price on the cashier’s screen.

Chip’s dual uses raise alarm
The VeriChip itself contains no medical records, just codes that can be scanned, and revealed, in a doctor’s office or hospital. With that code, the health providers can unlock that portion of a secure database that holds that person’s medical information, including allergies and prior treatment. The electronic database, not the chip, would be updated with each medical visit.

The microchips have already been implanted in 1 million pets. But the chip’s possible dual use for tracking people’s movements — as well as speeding delivery of their medical information to emergency rooms — has raised alarm.

“If privacy protections aren’t built in at the outset, there could be harmful consequences for patients,” said Emily Stewart, a policy analyst at the Health Privacy Project.

To protect patient privacy, the devices should reveal only vital medical information, like blood type and allergic reactions, needed for health care workers to do their jobs, Stewart said.

An information technology guru at Detroit Medical Center, however, sees the benefits of the devices and will lobby for his center’s inclusion in a VeriChip pilot program.

“One of the big problems in health care has been the medical records situation. So much of it is still on paper,” said David Ellis, the center’s chief futurist and co-founder of the Michigan Electronic Medical Records Initiative.

‘Part of the future of medicine’
As “medically mobile” patients visit specialists for care, their records fragment on computer systems that don’t talk to each other.

“It’s part of the future of medicine to have these kinds of technologies that make life simpler for the patient,” Ellis said. Pushing for the strongest encryption algorithms to ensure hackers can’t nab medical data as information transfers from chip to reader to secure database, will help address privacy concerns, he said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday announced $139 million in grants to help make real President Bush’s push for electronic health records for most Americans within a decade.

William A. Pierce, an HHS spokesman, could not say whether VeriChip and its accompanying secure database of medical records fit within that initiative.

“Exactly what those technologies are is still to be sorted out,” Pierce said. “It all has to respect and comport with the privacy rules.”

Applied Digital gave away scanners to a few hundred animal shelters and veterinary clinics when it first entered the pet market 15 years ago. Now, 50,000 such scanners have been sold.

To kickstart the chip’s use among humans, Applied Digital will provide $650 scanners for free at 200 of the nation’s trauma centers.

Implantation costs $150 to $200
In pets, installing the chip runs about $50. For humans, the chip implantation cost would be $150 to $200, said Angela Fulcher, an Applied Digital spokeswoman.

Fulcher could not say whether the cost of data storage and encrypted transmission of medical information would be passed to providers.

Because the VeriChip is invisible, it’s also unclear how health care workers would know which unconscious patients to scan. Company officials say if the chip use becomes routine, scanning triceps for hidden chips would become second nature at hospitals.

Ultimately, the company hopes patients who suffer from such ailments as diabetes and Alzheimer’s or who undergo complex treatments, like chemotherapy, would have chips implanted. If the procedure proves as popular for use in humans as in pets, that could mean up to 1 million chips implanted in people. So far, just 1,000 people across the globe have had the devices implanted, very few of them in the United States.

The company’s chief executive officer, Scott R. Silverman, is one of a half dozen executives who had chips implanted. Silverman said chips implanted for medical uses could also be used for security purposes, like tracking employee movement through nuclear power plants.

Such security uses are rare in the United States.

Meanwhile, the chip has been used for pure whimsy: Club hoppers in Barcelona, Spain, now use the microchip to enter a VIP area and, through links to a different database, speed payment much like a smartcard.

Article Source Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6237364/ns/health-health_care/t/fda-approves-computer-chip-humans/#.TyggVIFKSNU

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

JP

Researchers studying a potentially more lethal, airborne version of bird flu have suspended their studies because of concerns the mutant virus they have created could be used as a devastating form of bioterrorism or accidentally escape the lab.

In a letter published in the journals Nature and Science on Friday, 39 scientists defended the research as crucial to public health efforts.

But they are bowing to fear that has become widespread since media reports discussed the studies, and their possible fallout, in December.

Fears were raised that the engineered viruses may escape from the laboratories – not unlike the frightful scenario in the 1971 science fiction movie The Andromeda Strain – or possibly be used to create a bioterror weapon.

Among the scientists who signed the letter were leaders of the two teams that have spearheaded the research, at Erasmus Medical College in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as well as influenza experts at institutions ranging from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the University of Hong Kong.

For the full letter, see below or click HERE.

Fears: Worries that the avian flu could escape from laboratories and cause a pandemic or be used in bio-terrorism have led to the halt in researchFears: Worries that the avian flu could escape from laboratories and cause a pandemic or be used in bio-terrorism have led to the halt in research

 

The decision to suspend the research for 60 days “was totally voluntarily,” virologist Ron Fouchier of Erasmus told Reuters.

The pause in their is meant to allow global health agencies and governments to weigh up the benefits of the research and agree on ways to minimize its risk.

‘It is the right thing to do, given the controversies in the US,’ Fouchier said.

Terror: If it did escape, the mutant virus created by scientists could cause disaster on a global scaleTerror: If it did escape, the mutant virus created by scientists could cause disaster on a global scale

 

The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity in December had asked Science and Nature to censor details of the research from the Erasmus and Wisconsin teams that was submitted for publication.

Biosecurity experts fear that a form of the virus that is transmissible through airborne droplets – which the Erasmus and Wisconsin teams independently created – could spark a pandemic worse than the 1918-19 outbreak of Spanish flu that killed up to 40 million people.

‘There is obviously a controversy here over the right balance between risk and benefit,’ said virologist Daniel Perez of the University of Maryland, who signed the letter supporting the moratorium.

‘I strongly believe that this research needs to continue, but that doesn’t mean you can’t call a time out.’

The full open letter

Below is the full open letter from Ron A. M. Fouchier, Adolfo García-Sastre, Yoshihiro Kawaoka and 36 co-authors published in the journals Nature and Science on Friday.

‘The continuous threat of an influenza pandemic represents one of the biggest challenges in public health. Influenza pandemics are known to be caused by viruses that evolve from animal reservoirs, such as birds and pigs, and can acquire genetic changes that increase their ability to transmit in humans. Pandemic preparedness plans have been implemented worldwide to mitigate the impact of influenza pandemics.

A major obstacle in preventing influenza pandemics is that little is known regarding what makes an influenza virus transmissible in humans. As a consequence, the potential pandemic risk associated with the many different influenza viruses of animals cannot be assessed with any certainty.

Recent research breakthroughs identified specific determinants of transmission of H5N1 influenza viruses in ferrets. Responsible research on influenza virus transmission using different animal models is conducted by multiple laboratories in the world using the highest international standards of biosafety and biosecurity practices that effectively prevent the release of transmissible viruses from the laboratory. These standards are regulated and monitored closely by the relevant authorities. This statement is being made by the principal investigators of these laboratories.

In two independent studies conducted in two leading influenza laboratories at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, investigators have proved that viruses possessing a haemagglutinin (HA) protein from highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza viruses can become transmissible in ferrets.

This is critical information that advances our understanding of influenza transmission. However, more research is needed to determine how influenza viruses in nature become human pandemic threats, so that they can be contained before they acquire the ability to transmit from human to human, or so that appropriate countermeasures can be deployed if adaptation to humans occurs.

Despite the positive public-health benefits these studies sought to provide, a perceived fear that the ferret-transmissible H5 HA viruses may escape from the laboratories has generated intense public debate in the media on the benefits and potential harm of this type of research. We would like to assure the public that these experiments have been conducted with appropriate regulatory oversight in secure containment facilities by highly trained and responsible personnel to minimize any risk of accidental release. Whether the ferret-adapted influenza viruses have the ability to transmit from human to human cannot be tested.

We recognize that we and the rest of the scientific community need to clearly explain the benefits of this important research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks. We propose to do so in an international forum in which the scientific community comes together to discuss and debate these issues. We realize that organizations and governments around the world need time to find the best solutions for opportunities and challenges that stem from the work.

To provide time for these discussions, we have agreed on a voluntary pause of 60 days on any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses leading to the generation of viruses that are more transmissible in mammals. In addition, no experiments with live H5N1 or H5 HA reassortant viruses already shown to be transmissible in ferrets will be conducted during this time. We will continue to assess the transmissibility of H5N1 influenza viruses that emerge in nature and pose a continuing threat to human health.’

JP

A team of scientists in Oregon have announced the birth of a rare monkey, which they have termed the “chimeric monkey.”

Scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center created the chimera monkey, stitching together genetic material from six parents. By successfully implanting these genetically mixed rhesus monkey embryos into mothers, the scientists say that have now produced the first example in primates.

Until now, rodents have been the primary creatures used to make chimeras, a lab animal produced by combining two or more fertilized eggs or early embryos together. The chimeras have tissues and organs made up of cells that come from each of the contributing embryos.

“We need to go back to basics. We need to study not just cultured embryonic stem cells but also stem cells in embryos. It’s too soon to close the chapter on these cells,” said the study’s lead researchers. “If we want to move stem cell therapies from the lab to clinics and from the mouse to humans, we need to understand what these primate cells can and can’t do. We need to study them in humans, including human embryos.”

The monkeys were born from mixtures of very-early stage embryonic cells, suggesting that human embryonic stem cells may have developmental differences that could also produce similar results. The research is also thought to open the door for cloning primates using embryonic cells.

Scientists who know of the research said it was the breakthrough that they had all been waiting for because, until now, there was a growing feeling that there might be some insuperable barrier to creating cloned embryos from adult primates.

Scientists in South Korea reported in 2004 that they had created the first cloned human embryo, but it was discovered in 2006 that the study’s main author, Hwang Woo-suk, had committed fraud. The Oregon team, working with a group in China, has so far produced about 100 cloned embryos that have been transferred into around 50 female macaques, but none has resulted in a full-term pregnancy.

The breakthrough is sure to heighten the cloning controversy, and it comes as Oregon lawmakers are set to open the 2012 legislation session. The state has been at the center of the debate over cloning laws in recent years. Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) put forth a measure in 2007, pushing for a ban on human cloning.

“Cloning human life under any circumstances crosses an ethical line from which science can never turn back,” said Representative Nelson at the time. “If we don’t take a stand now, if we don’t draw that ethical line clearly, we risk a future where new human beings are created for the sole purpose of harvesting organs or medical experimentation. This is an affront to the dignity of human life.”

The Oregon National Primate Research Center is one of the eight National Primate Research Centers in the United States. The center notes that its “mandate as a Center is to provide Nonhuman Primate (NHP) resources for the very best scientific programs, both within the Oregon Health & Science University community and beyond.”

(Author’s Note: This is NOT the first time this has been happening.  Dig a little deeper and you will find that the secret governments, under Black Operations, have been cloning, cross-breeding, dissecting humans, for a very long time and for nefarious reasons.)

Genetically altered H5N1 strain can spread between mammals

Steve Watson
Infowars.com
December 20, 2011

Bird Flu

A highly contagious mutant strain of H5N1 bird flu that can be transmitted between mammals has been deliberately created at Rotterdam’s Erasmus Medical Centre, the London Independent reports.

Now plans to publish details of how the deadly virus was created in the lab are being castigated by government officials and health experts.

The findings were scheduled to be published in the US journal Science, however, officials at the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity have demanded that they be allowed to screen the details first.

“The worst-case scenario here is worse than anything you can imagine,” an anonymous senior US government advisor told the Independent.

“The fear is that if you create something this deadly and it goes into a global pandemic, the mortality and cost to the world could be massive.”

In comments to The London Telegraph, EU Health Commissioner John Dalli said that the Dutch government has assured him the virus is being kept secure.

“The Dutch authorities confirmed that the virus itself is stored in a very secured way and that the necessary permits were given and that the researchers are bound by a code of conduct,” Mr Dalli said.

“One of the issues … is to ensure that any information coming from this research is well controlled and without sensitive details about mutation being given,” he added.

The ultimate fear is that the virus could escape the lab, or be recreated somewhere else for nefarious purposes, such as a deadly bioweapon.

H5N1 bird flu has proven fatal in 60 per cent of human cases. However, only a small amount of people have died from the disease because it has not yet been transmitted between humans.

Ron Fouchier, the virologist who led the research team that created the mutant flu strain, said that the study had concluded that transmission of the H5N1 virus was possible between humans “and can be carried out more easily than we thought.”

“In a laboratory, it was possible to change the H5N1 into a virus … that can easily be spread through the air. This process (mutation) could also happen naturally,” Fouchier said.

Conceding that it is “probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make”, Fouchier has said that his work is “really, really stupid,” but ultimately useful for the development of vaccines.

In 2009, Infowars reported extensively on the fact that vaccines contaminated with the deadly avian flu virus were distributed to 18 countries by the American Pharmaceutical company Baxter.

Baxter mixed the deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses. The H5N1 virus on its own is less airborne and more restricted in the ease with which it can spread. However, when combined with seasonal flu viruses, which are super-airborne and easily spread, the effect is a potent, super-airbone, super deadly biological weapon.

While some dismissed the incident as criminal negligence, others contended it may have been part of a conspiracy to provoke a pandemic.

——————————————————————

Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

Source Article Link: http://www.infowars.com/race-on-to-cover-up-details-of-lab-created-killer-bird-flu/

JP

  • Just five tweaks to H5N1 makes it more contagious
  • Contagious version of bird flu could cause pandemic
  • Scientists divide over whether findings can be released

 

A Pakistani health official removes chickens from an infected farm, Gadap, Pakistan during an H5N1 epidemic: Now a Dutch scientist has engineered a new, more contagious versionA Pakistani health official removes chickens from an infected farm, Gadap, Pakistan during an H5N1 epidemic: Now a Dutch scientist has engineered a new, more contagious version.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 500 people – and outbreaks sparked terror around the world about the possibility of a global pandemic.

So far, the virus has not been contagious enough to pose a threat of a global pandemic. Sick people don’t pass it readily to the healthy.

But that might change.

At a flu conference in Malta this September, virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands made an astounding, and terrifying, announcement.

He found that a few simple genetic tweaks to the virus made it far more infectious among ferrets – a standard animal model used to study how viruses spread among humans.

Fouchier found that a mere five mutations to the virus were sufficient to make it spread far more easily.

His genetic research was part of an international drive to understand H5N1 more fully.

But his discovery caused a storm of controversy.

It’s traditional for scientific research to be open – to allow fellow scientists to review the work of others, repeat their methods and learn from them.

But in this case, many experts say that the research should be suppressed – in case the new ‘tweaked’ virus is used as a bioweapon.

A more contagious version of H5N1 could be a terrible weapon in the hands of terrorists.

Fouchier’s work is now being scrutinised by an American committe called the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, says NPR.

 
Bird Flu Virus.

Virologist Ron Fouchier engineered a version of the H5N1 virus that was more contagious between ferrets – a standard ‘animal model’ for how infectious a virus might be between humans.

Bioterrorism experts are aghast at the idea of the research being released.

‘It’s just a bad idea for scientists to turn a lethal virus into a lethal and highly contagious virus,’ says Dr Thomas Inglesby, director for the Centre for Biosecurity at the Universuity of Pittsburgh.

‘There are some cases that I think are worth an exception to the principle of openness,’ he told NPR. ‘I can only imagine that the process of deliberating about the publication of these findings is quite serious.’

Fouchier is not going to comment until the committee has made its decision about whether the findings should be published.

Experiments involving other, different variants of the virus have been published in the journal Virology.

Experts are divided about the benefits of publication – with some saying that the benefits of publishing, and studying, new variants of viruses can outweigh the risks.

 
SOURCE ARTICLE LINK: : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2063326/Scientists-mutate-bird-flu-make-MORE-contagious–critics-claim-bioweapon-kept-secret.html#ixzz1eMQSPLic

JP