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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sphingosine Fights Deadly Cytokine Storm Especially in Flu

With flu season approaching it is important to note that many flu deaths are related to strong immune reaction resulting in what is termed a cytokine storm.

Not all strains of flu cause this reaction so it may not matter this year, but this is something to remember.

The flu causes death one of two ways – either by overwhelming the system of very young, old, or otherwise already ill individuals – this happens with the ordinary seasonal flu and the Type A H1N1 which is now spreading like wildfire.

A really dangerous influenza virus actually causes deaths among the strongest and most healthy individuals by causing the person’s normal immune system to overreact and flood the lungs with fluid.

An abstract from PubMed related to this reads, "Cytokine storm defines a dysregulation of and an excessively exaggerated immune response most often accompanying selected viral infections and several autoimmune diseases. Newly emerging and re-emerging infections of the respiratory tract, especially influenza, SARS, and hantavirus post considerable medical problems. Their morbidities and mortalities are often a direct result of cytokine storm. This chapter visits primarily influenza virus infection and resultant cytokine storm. It provides the compelling evidence that illuminates cytokine storm in influenza pathogenesis and the clear findings that cytokine storm is chemically tractable by therapy directed toward sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor (S1PR) modulation, specifically S1P1R agonist therapy. The mechanism(s) of how S1P1R signaling works and the pathways involved are subjects of this review."

Fortunately, as I have reported elsewhere, there is an easy fix, Sphingosine-1-phosphate differently regulates the cytokine production and can be used to treat the patient experiencing a dangerous cytokine storm.

Researchers at the La Jolla, California-based Scripts Research Institute have recently reported that the sphingosine drug directly impacts the cytokine response and therefore may be a vital tool in reducing the mortality of any new pandemic flu virus which has a high mortality rate caused by the cytokine storm.

Unlike existing drugs which attack the virus itself, this drug doesn’t attempt to stop the flu infection and is therefore independent of the particular strain involved – rather it targets what is the real danger, leaving the patient time to recover on their own.


http://www.jstor.org/stable/27978941

Friday, August 26, 2016

Coma Patient Awakened by Ultrasonic Beam and Recovery Greatly Enhanced

There are tens of thousands of patients in a so-called vegetative state after head trauma or other incidents but researchers in LA MIGHT have found a new treatment, although they caution that the patient’s rapid recovery COULD be a coincidence. But further research should be easy to conduct and a definitive answer may be found quickly.

PLEASE HELP, NO, I'M NOT ASKING FOR ANY MONEY, BUT IF YOU THINK GETTING SELECTED BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS OF THIS SORT IS USEFUL PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE BLOG OR CRITICALMEDICALNEWS.COM

The patient (25 year-old Bradley Crehan) sustained a brain injury from a fall which required removal of part of his skull to relieve pressure and he was put into a medically induced coma.


But when the doctors tried to bring him out of the coma he was mostly unresponsive and it was predicted that it would take a minimum of 6 months for any real recovery.


The team at UCLA then targeted his thalamus with ultrasonic waves for five minutes guided by MRI images.


According to a report in STAT, “A day after the treatment,  Crehan started recognizing objects, attempted to use a spoon, and could blink on command, [said the study’s lead author, Martin M. Monti, a UCLA psychologist and neuroscientist]. Three days later, Crehan understood questions and could reliably gesture yes and no.


“He even gave me a fist bump when I was leaving,” Monti said. “He had emerged.”
Crehan’s recovery was swift and smooth. He left the hospital in four months, faster than anyone expected. “When I left, the nurses were saying, ‘Whoa, you’re leaving already?’” Crehan said.
Unfortunately for this important development, the case study was published in Brain Stimulation, an Elsevier publication I don’t have access to.


There are two drugs which have also been shown seperately to stimulate coma/vegetative state patients in rare instances, one is the sleep medication Ambien and the other is Amantadine.

Both are long shots but given the alternative and the safety of the two drugs it might be worthwhile to suggest to doctors that they give them a try if you have a relative in this condition.

PLEASE HELP, NO, I'M NOT ASKING FOR ANY MONEY, BUT IF YOU THINK GETTING SELECTED BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS OF THIS SORT IS USEFUL PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE BLOG OR CRITICALMEDICALNEWS.COM

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another Big Advance in Cancer Treatment On the Horizon Uses Magnetic Bacteria

One of the biggest problems in treating the 85% of cancers which are solid tumors is getting the chemotherapy to the portions of tumors which are starved of oxygen (hypoxic) due to the rest of the tumor consuming so many of the available resources.


Now (August 15) Nature Nanotechnology is reporting that McGill university researchers in Canada have been experimenting with the use of a magnetotactic bacteria Magnetoccus marinus (A.K.A. MC-1) to carry drugs to the parts of tumors which can’t be reached using the conventional transport methods using liposomes, micelles and polymeric nanoparticles.


MC-1 has some nanoparticles which act as magnets and can therefore be moved to the tumor with a weak magnetic field.


The MC-1 bacteria then seek out the hypoxic cells because they normally live in deep water where there is a low oxygen concentration.

The researchers feel this technique can be applied quickly but are currently collaborating on developing the necessary medical protocols for a trial.

This is an exciting time in cancer research. I recently published a report on bypassing the blood brain barrier, and another on a potential cure for melanoma which blocked metastasis and another about a newly effective drug combination.

Stay tuned, or better yet, get an RSS feed and keep ahead of diseases with information before your doctor gets home to read his journals.


PLEASE HELP, NO, I'M NOT ASKING FOR ANY MONEY, BUT IF YOU THINK GETTING SELECTED BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS OF THIS SORT IS USEFUL PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE BLOG OR CRITICALMEDICALNEWS.COM

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Potential CURE for Melanoma, the Deadliest Skin Cancer May Be On Near Horizon

Anyone who has ever had malignant melanoma (as I have) and takes any interest in the disease which will probably kill them, knows that it isn’t the melanoma on the skin which matters - it is entirely benign EXCEPT that sooner or later it will spread to the brain and other organs (metastasis) and that’s what is eventually fatal.

Treatments for MM are basic, beginning with excising (cutting out) the tumor and, 10 years ago, simply hoping it hadn’t spread yet.

Just 10 to 15 years ago if the tumor had spread that was essentially a death sentence because there was no good chemotherapy.

I was fortunate.

My cousin who was diagnosed at almost the same time, wasn’t.

The Situation Today

Today there are various chemotherapy treatments which save many patients at the high cost of making them very sick for a period.

But a recently announced discovery by Israeli researchers at Tel Aviv University holds the hope of an actual CURE for all malignant melanoma if discovered early enough.

What they found were two substances which stop the metastasis of the cancer by preventing the epidermal tumor from reaching a blood vessel and spreading to other organs.


The newly discovered chemicals don’t actually cure melanoma but do something almost as good by preventing the metastasis which is actually the cancer’s danger.

Transforming melanoma into a nonthreatening illness

“Having discovered the mechanism, the researchers proceeded to look for substances that could intervene and block the process in its earliest stages. They found two such chemicals: one (SB202190) inhibits the delivery of the vesicles from the melanoma tumor to the dermis; and the other (U0126) prevents the morphological changes in the dermis even after the arrival of the vesicles. Both substances were tested successfully in the lab, and may serve as promising candidates for future drugs. In addition, the changes in the dermis, as well as the vesicles themselves, can be used as powerful indicators for early diagnosis of melanoma.
"Our study is an important step on the road to a full remedy for the deadliest skin cancer," said Dr. Levy. "We hope that our findings will help turn melanoma into a nonthreatening, easily curable disease."
Potential

This discovery has important implications because, if it proves possible to put this into a drug and the drug isn’t dangerous to humans, it would virtually eliminate the threat of malignant melanoma, very important to survivors because it usually reoccurs.

While waiting for a "cure" patients should probably read what I found about Vitamin D-3 and its potential to extend life of MM patients. It was vital before recent chemotherapy advances and today won't interfere with more modern treatments.

See my pamphlet on the subject which includes citations from medical studies published in Europe.

CDC Adds Bahamas to Zika Travel Warning List Also, GBS Death in San Juan PR

A few minutes ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Ga., USA) announced that it has added The Bahamas to the interim travel guidance for pregnant women and heir partners.

Find the travel notice here

The island of New Providence (including Nassau) is the site where the Zika virus has been detected.

See the full list of Zika travel area recommendations here.

The CDC reminds travelers that the particular mosquitoes which transmit Zika are unusual in that they are aggressive daytime biters. (Most mosquito species show a preference for nocturnal feeding.)

The CDC also warns that some of those infected with Zika will show no symptoms and can therefore transmit the virus unknowingly to sexual partners even after leaving the infection zone.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) Death

A further note, Zika isn't just a danger to babies, pregnant women and their fetuses, it can also apparently trigger the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in adults which is a serious paralyzing neurologic condition which has recently been the cause of death of at least one person in Puerto Rico a 35-45 year old male.

Find a Guillain-Barré report here.

GBS causes muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, and numbness or tingling in your arms, legs, face, and other parts of your body.

Now that Polio has been virtually eliminated, GBS is the leading cause of such paralysis. Although virtually eliminated, there has been a recent outbreak of poliomyelitis in Nigeria.

Assessment of Guillain-Barre Syndrome Mortality and Morbidity in the UnitedStates: Implications for Acute Flaccid Paralysis Surveillance

A CDC travel warning for Zika involves warning pregnant women to avoid the area and not have unprotected sex with anyone recently returned from the region.

Effective barriers include include male and female condoms and dental dams. Dental dams are latex or polyurethane sheets used between the mouth and vagina or anus during oral sex.

For additional information on preventing the sexual transmission of Zika click here,

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Parkinson’s Hope - Preliminary ONLY

I don’t normally cover medical developments at this stage but with zero useful long term treatments for Parkinson’s Disease available, I feel that this is worth reporting.

The standard of treatment (essentially the ONLY treatment) for this nerve disease which affects about 700,000 Americans and upwards of 10 million worldwide has, for thirty years, been the chemical levodopa drug which initially gives very good relief from the disease which causes tremors and progressive paralysis along with a number of other symptoms.

Problems with L-dopa

Levodopa or L-dopa works great for most patients when initially given to Parkinson’s and other nerve damaged patients but the effectiveness wears off either gradually for Parkinson’s or dramatically for some other diseases.

Now a Cambridge, MA company, Voyager Therapeutics is conducting AADC gene therapy trials which shows promise in extending the period when L-dopa works.

This was shown in the 1990 Robert De Niro/Robin Williams movie Awakenings which chronicle the discovery by Dr. Oliver Sacks who produced dramatic awakening of catatonic patients who had suffered encephalitis infections.

Clinical Trial

The following is a direct quote from the clinical trial information sheet.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder involving loss of neurons that release dopamine in the striatum. To compensate for the loss of dopamine, patients are typically prescribed levodopa medication which is converted to dopamine by the enzyme Aromatic L-Amino Acid Decarboxylase (AADC). As Parkinson's disease progresses, levodopa therapy becomes less effective and is associated with motor fluctuations, involuntary movements and other complications.

This study will primarily investigate the safety of increasing AADC levels in the striatum via AADC gene delivery. The hAADC gene is packaged into a gene transfer vector derived from a common, non-pathogenic virus (AAV2) to which >90% of humans have been exposed. This investigational drug, termed AAV2-hAADC, will be injected directly into the striatum during a neurosurgical procedure that is performed with real-time MRI imaging to monitor delivery.
Subjects will continue to take Parkinson's disease medications, including levodopa.
The safety and potential clinical responses to AAV2-hAADC will be assessed by repeated clinical evaluations of Parkinson's disease, cognitive tests, laboratory blood tests and neuroimaging. Clinical evaluations will be performed over a 3 year follow-up period. A test to specifically assess the clinical response to levodopa will be performed once before AADC gene delivery and approximately 6 months after.”

Find information on the clinical trial here: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01973543?term=AADC&rank=2

Saturday, August 20, 2016

New MRSA Drug Found In Novel Location - Snot

This may sound strange but it’s snot funny, it’s an exciting potential new source of critically needed antibiotics which has already yielded a way to combat MRSA, a hospital acquired infection which probably kills 100,000 people each year worldwide - 10,000 just in the U.S.

The need for new antibiotics is desperate because overuse and misuse has rendered many drugs useless resulting in killer infections such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which is the target of lugdunin a new drug emerging from, of all things, human snot.

The new drug which appears to be very effective against MRSA is actually produced by another strain of Staphylococcus, unsurprisingly known as S lugdunin.

What is really novel about this drug is where it is found, right in the human body, specifically the nose.

The Nose Knows?


This happened because the nasal passages are actually not a very hospitable environment for bacteria so those which dwell there, including both strains of Staphylococcus, which battle it out for living space.

Researchers knew that about one-third of people have S. aureus in their noses so they wondered why the other two-thirds don’t and it turns out that S. lugdunin produces a chemical which kills the MRSA infection.

(Although S aureus is extremely common, which is why it is often found in hospital settings, it seldom gains a fatal foothold in humans unless they are sick and hence in hospitals.)

“We’ve found a new concept of finding antibiotics,” Andreas Peschel, a bacteriologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany, said on Tuesday at the EuroScience Open Forum, a biennial science and policy meeting. “We have preliminiary evidence at least in the nose that there is a rich source of many others, and I’m sure that we will find new drugs there.”
Peschel and bacteriologist Bernhard Krismer discovered the new drug while looking at why one bacteria predominated in some people and not others.
See the complete report in a recent issue of Science Magazine, one of the peer-reviewed science journals of the AAAS.

Friday, August 19, 2016

CDC Warns Pregnant or Potentially Pregnant Women to Avoid Miami Beach and Miami/Date County

Following a detected spread of infected mosquitoes, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is warning pregnant women and those who might become pregnant soon to avoid Miami Beach.

Male partners of such women should either avoid sex during the pregnancy or use condoms to prevent sexual transmission of the virus.

CDC Update, "Florida Department of Health has identified two areas of Miami-Dade County where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. In addition to the previously identified area in the Wynwood neighborhood, there is now mosquito-borne spread of Zika virus in a section of Miami Beach." Miami/Date County map.
 Areas in Miami, FL where Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes.  See guidance for living in or traveling to this area.

CDC data showing 579 confirmed Zika cases in New York State and even 69 in Pennsylvania and 66 in New Jersey might seem comparable or even worse than the 408 cases reported in Florida, but the raw numbers are misleading - the important number is 14 which is the number of LOCALLY ACQUIRED Zika infections for Florida.

There are NO other locally infected Zika patients in any of the 50 U.S. States, hence no need to warn women to avoid the areas. All of the reported cases outside Florida were people who were infected elsewhere and traveled to those states where the infection was detected in their blood.

See a map and chart at the CDC site for details.

  Map of the United States showing Travel-associated and Locally acquired cases of the Zika virus. The locations and number of cases can be found in the table below.

There are active outbreaks in some U.S. territories which should also be avoided by those who might be pregnant.

American Samoa has 44 locally acquired cases, Puerto Rico has 7,855+, and the U.S. Virgin Islands together have 101 cases.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Elder Care Goal - Get Out of Hospital Soonest!

Hospitals are very bad for elderly patients according to recent studies.


Thirty-three percent of patients over 70 and 50+% of those over 85 are more disabled when they leave than when they arrived according to research published in JAMA.

This is hospitalization-associated disability and can occur even when the event which put them in the hospital is cured.

What elderly need most is to eat well, exercise daily, and get plenty of sleep.

Anyone who has ever been in a hospital knows that patients are awoken in the night to take vitals, tied down to beds with IVs, and given food the average cat wouldn’t eat.

Is it any wonder they do badly and so many who were living on their own before entering a hospital go to skilled nursing facilities when they leave, unable to care for themselves ever again?

Doctors' Goals Should be to Treat Less, Rather Than More.


The main goal of doctors treating the elderly should be the opposite of that for treating kids and younger people who usually benefit from bed rest and hospital care.

The elderly, on the other hand, should be released as soon as possible, fed in a room with others, not from a tray in bed, and left to sleep through the night.

They should also be encouraged to walk as much as possible rather than lie in bed even if this means the inconvenience to staff of disconnecting IVs, some of which wouldn’t be needed it the patient exercised and ate decent food.

Simply put, bed rest is BAD for the elderly and just a week confined to bed can do permanent damage which a younger person could simply shake off in a few days at home.

Some hospitals have taken notice of the fact that less care is probably best for the elderly and have set aside special elder care sections where the special needs of elderly patients are addressed.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

ZIKA Weekly SitRep from WHO, the Zika virus has been reported in 68 countries and territories.

See world map at
http://www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/situation-report/zika_timeline_2013_2016_v2.JPG?ua=1


Summary

As of 3 August 2016, 68 countries and territories (Fig. 1, Table 1) have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2007 (65 of these countries and territories have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2015):

51 countries and territories with a first reported outbreak from 2015 onwards (Table 1).
Four countries are classified as having possible endemic transmission or have reported evidence of local mosquito-borne Zika infections in 2016.

13 countries and territories have reported evidence of local mosquito-borne Zika infections in or before 2015, but without documentation of cases in 2016, or with the outbreak terminated.
The United States of America reported mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission for the first time on 29 July 2016.

Since February 2016, 11 countries have reported evidence of person-to-person transmission of Zika virus, probably via a sexual route (Table 2).

As of 3 August 2016, 14 countries or territories have reported microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection or suggestive of congenital infection. No additional countries or territories have reported microcephaly in the last week. Three of the 14 total countries reported microcephaly cases born from mothers in countries with no endemic Zika virus transmission but who reported recent travel history to Zika-affected countries in the WHO Region of the Americas (Table 3).

As of 3 August 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) reported 13 live-born infants with birth defects and six pregnancy losses with birth defects with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection.

As of 3 August 2016, 15 countries and territories worldwide have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and/or laboratory confirmation of a Zika virus infection among GBS cases (Table 4).

In Guinea-Bissau, on 29 June 2016, Institute Pasteur Dakar (IPD) confirmed that three of 12 samples tested positive for Zika by PC-R. All 12 samples tested negative against IgM Zika. One additional sample from a recent case also tested positive for Zika virus infection. All four samples were sent to IPD on 1 July for gene sequencing and the results are pending. Twenty-two additional samples were collected and sent for testing; the results are still pending.

A roster of WHO technical and communication officers is available to answer media queries during the Olympics.

WHO has developed advice and information on diverse topics in the context of Zika virus. ,

Monday, August 1, 2016

Zika outbreak in north Miami,CDC issues travel warning

CDC issues travel guidance related to Miami neighborhood with active Zika spread

New assessments of mosquito populations and test results this past weekend by Florida public health officials, as part of a community survey in the Miami neighborhood where several Zika infections were recently confirmed, have found persistent mosquito populations and additional Zika infections in the same area. This information suggests that there is a risk of continued active transmission of Zika virus in that area. As a result, CDC and Florida are issuing travel, testing and other recommendations for people who traveled to or lived in the Florida-designated areas on or after June 15, 2016, the earliest known date that one of the people could have been infected with Zika. At Florida’s request, CDC is also sending a CDC Emergency Response Team (CERT) with experts in Zika virus, pregnancy and birth defects, vector control, laboratory science, and risk communications to assist in the response. Two CDC team members are already on the ground in Florida, three more will arrive today, and three more on Tuesday, August 2.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Melanoma survival double with both immunotherapy AND local peripheral treatments.

Sciencedaily.com today reported a study and clinical trial which showed that metastatic melanoma patients who received BOTH ipilimumab/Yervoy AND local peripheral treatments had more than double the survival period (93 weeks) of those who only received Yerboy (42 weeks).

This is an especially interesting subject to me because I'm a malignant melanoma survivor from a decade ago and I wrote a booklet about how I survived before these treatments were available,
http://www.amazon.com/John-A.-McCormick/e/B00287RNFS

Back a decade ago there were NO chemotherapy treatments for malignant melanoma which did more than make a very marginal improvement in life expectancy.

I found European clinical studies which showed that Vitamin D-3 more than doubled the survival rate.

There is also considerable evidence that the spice turmeric - often found in curry, also improves your chances of survival.

Since neither of these would in any way interfere with more recent treatments I suggest patients read the scientific results I cite in my book and consider adding Vitamin D-3 and or turmeric to their diets.

My book is the lowest price I could set, 99-cents and Amazon Prime members can read it for free.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Linus Pauling Vindicated on Vitamin C??Cancer Study Says YES!

Since I only post critical news, rather than attempt a story every day, you might want to subscribe for a feed so you don't miss anything that might save your life. The only limit on postings is that they must be critical news with life-saving potential.

Two time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling was ridiculed for his suggestion that high dose Vitamin C could fight cancers but recent studies show he may have been on track for a third Nobel for his suggestion.

For ovarian cancer there is an open text study published at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Two key paragraphs are these found near the end.
“For patients, quality of life is a key issue. In a self-assessment administered to 39 terminal cancer patients treated with 10 g of intravenous ascorbate at 3 day intervals combined with daily administration of 4 g orally for 1 week, quality of life was reportedly improved on several scales. Specifically, patients rated physical, emotional, and cognitive function higher and several symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and fatigue, lower after ascorbate treatment. Similarly, advanced cancer patients in the phase I trial who received intravenous ascorbate doses >0.4 g/kg sustained quality of life for the duration of the trial.”
However, neither of these trials had a placebo control. How intravenous ascorbate might mediate improved wellbeing is unknown; further examination with appropriate placebo controls may be worthwhile.
In summary, intravenous ascorbate therapy is safe, well tolerated, and has minimal side effects compared to most standard agents, as verified by both case studies and early clinical trials. Additionally, intravenous ascorbate may contribute to maintaining quality of life.
“Current trials are investigating the potential efficacy of pharmacologic ascorbate given over longer durations in combination with standard chemotherapies.”
Very recent studies just published in Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science into the use of Vitamin C in treating two kinds of cancer in rats show very promising results and the same cancer types are found in difficult-to-treat human cancers.
Although the actual study is available only to members, the AAAS provides a summary atsciencemag.org
This study found that colon cancer cells often grow because of mutations in the KRAS or BRAF genes. These cells are fed by high levels of glucose (sugar) but the transporter, GLUT1 also carries Vitamin C to cells as the dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) oxidized form.
Bombarding the cells with high doses of the DHA (Vitamin C) can block free radicals and high doses actually do kill those colon cancers in the lab. The dosages required would require patients eating unbelievable amounts of fruits such as oranges but fortunately the same Vitamin C can be purchased in kilogram packages very inexpensively and mixed with sterile water for IV feeds.

Conclusions?

Since Vitamin C is very cheap and people can not only tolerate it in massive dosages but will probably actually improve their quality of life, it appears that human trials could easily be approved and conducted. Because there is no real safety question, some doctors may agree to give their cancer patients the massive doses along with whatever traditional treatment such as chemotherapy which they are already getting.
I wrote this up before beginning this blog at 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

NEW HOPE for Brain Cancer Treatment!

Treating infections or tumors in the human brain is almost always a matter of surgery because of something called the blood-brain barrier (BBB) which is a sort of gatekeeper to the brain.

A new clinical trial of patients with glioblastoma (a kind of brain cancer tumor) shows that bursts of high intensity sound can temporarily disable the BBB allowing chemotherapy drugs to attack the tumor(s).

The function of the BBB is to protect the delicate brain. It consists of three major components.

One, limited spacing between endothelial cells (a thin layer of cells coating the walls of blood vessels) which limits the amount and kind of material which passes through the wall to the cells.
Two, proteins which actually transport the chemicals to the brain are specific to just the kinds of things (such as glucose - blood sugar) and ketones which provide an alternative source of energy. Also passed are fatty acids and some amino acids.

Three, a set of enzymes which attack and alter undesired blood contents.

A clinical trial just published in the Science Translational Magazine (AAAS Science.org) shows that many tumors such as a glioblastoma which is very aggressive, can now be treated using a combination of traditional chemotherapy and sound.

Researchers have found that a pulsed ultrasound device implanted in the skull and activated during treatment sessions can interrupt the effectiveness of the blood-brain barrier, allowing the chemotherapy to cross from the bloodstream to the brain and attack the tumor.

The system called SonoCloud was shown by MRI studies to interrupt the BBB at acoustic pressure levels up to 1.1 megapascals without any adverse effect on the brain tissue in radiologic or clinical tests.

Details aside, the important point for patients and families (as well as the few doctors who I know actually read this blog) is learning that there IS, or soon will be an alternative to brain surgery to treat cancers which could be treated with chemotherapy if they were in a less well protected part of the body.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WHO -- Coffee NOT a Cancer Cause!

Although this isn't probably critical news, it is a very important topic for so many people that I felt it fit in this blog.

For decades the World Health Organization and various other medical groups have been back and forth on the question of whether coffee is good for you or bad for you and the WHO actually said 25 years ago that they were concerned that coffee could cause bladder cancer.]

Fortunately for the many of us who feel life without coffee is barely living at all, they have now reversed their earlier position having determined that it isn't coffee which is the cancer threat, but very hot coffee, or any very hot beverage.

So stop burning your mouth with hot drinks and stick to burning your tongue with spices instead and you can enjoy that cup of coffee without guilt!

Coffee does NOT cause cancer.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Zika Virus Spreading Like Wildfire

According to the most recent report from the WHO, as of June 1, eleven countries have reported “microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection.”


While no NEW countries have been added to incident lists, 60 countries and territories have already reported continuing mosquito-borne transmission and 46 countries are seeing the first Zika virus outbreak this year.


By comparison, from 2007 through 2014 only fourteen countries had reported evidence of Zika virus transmission.


At this time ten countries have now reported probable sexual transmission of the Zika virus.


Cases in the U.S.A., Slovenia, and Spain report microcephaly in infants which were borne to mothers who had recently visited Brazil.


Among possible cases are two which are still being verified in  Venezuela and Costa Rica.
In addition, 13 countries and territories worldwide report additional incidents of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) above the normal average.


In Guadeloupe a Zika infection was found in a myelitis (a severe neurological condition) patient.


There is now a scientific consensus that a Zika virus infection can cause microcephaly and GBS.

Compare this map from the WHO with the one from February, 2016 below from my earlier Zika report.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Drug Resistant E. coli Moves to U.S.

The first reported incidence of a colistin-resistant E. coli. Has been reported in Pennsylvania.

The U.S. military science blog has reported that the Multidrug-resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN) at the Walter Reed Institute of Research had identified the first colistin-resistant mcr-1 E. coli in a person in the United States. A USDA and HHS search for colistin-resistant bacteria in food animals, retail meats and people also has found colistin-resistant E. coli in a single sample from a pig intestine.

Other reports are that this occurred in a middle-aged woman in Pennsylvania and that although the particular strain was treatable with other antibiotics this is a critical final stage in the development of a true superbug which is resistant to all antibiotics.

The reason is that this particular strain of the common Gram-negative E. coli bacteria carries the mcr-1 resistance gene which is a free floating strand of DNA meaning it can easily be shared with and transferred to other strains, many of which may be resistant to every other antibiotic except for the 50-year old colistin drug which was almost completely discontinued in the 70’s due to its human toxicity.

Once that colistin resistance gene moves to another Gram-negative bacteria strain which is already resistant to everything else we will have a common infectious agent for which there is no treatment.

Last year President Obama released a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria charging the military to treat drug resistant infections as a top priority and a major threat.

According to the NIH,“The problem with re-introducing an older drug, such as colistin, though, is that techniques for evaluating new drugs have evolved since the 1950s, and therefore, little is known about the dose needed to effectively fight infection while limiting the potential emergence of antimicrobial resistance and reducing potentially toxic side effects. More data are needed to guide optimal use of these older medications.

For detailed information see American Society for Microbiology, “Escherichia coli Harboring mcr-1 and blaCTX-M on a Novel IncF Plasmid: First report of 2 mcr-1 in the USA