World’s First Womb-Transplant Mother Hopes to Inspire Others

The parents of the world’s first womb-transplant baby said they hope their story inspires other couples who are struggling with infertility. The 36-year-old mother from Sweden had been born without a uterus, but last month she gave birth to a healthy but premature boy after having a womb transplant. “Yes, we made history,” the woman told The Associated Press on Monday. “It’s hard to answer but for us it feels like we are normal parents with a newborn baby — lots and lots of happiness and love for this little boy.”

The woman, who agreed to the interview provided her identity was not disclosed, was among nine to receive a new womb in a ground-breaking trial last year. “Even if I had years and years of sorrow and loss of hope, at the first touch and when I saw my baby I just felt as a mother,” she said. Her husband added they will be forever grateful to the 61-year-old woman who donated her uterus, the mother of one of his best friends. “What she did for us was so amazing and selfless that the words ‘thank you’ don’t seem like enough,” he said.

Source: nbc news

UN committee approves USD 49.9 mn funding for Ebola response

A UN committee that deals with administrative and budgetary issues has approved a 49.9 dollar million funding for the world body’s large-scale response to tackle the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

The Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution allocating funding for the newly established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) and the Office of the Special Envoy on Ebola. At the committee’s meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, presented his preliminary funding proposal requesting USD 49.9 million for the rest of the year.

The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) endorsed the amount and recommended that the General Assembly approve it. UNMEER teams have already deployed to the Mission headquarters in Accra, Ghana, and to offices in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“The establishment of UNMEER is the first step in the global efforts to contain the outbreak, which must be further strengthened by a wide range of actions and measures at all levels,” President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa said, highlighting efforts to mobilize required financial, medical and humanitarian assistance. More than 6,500 people have been believed to be infected, and more than 3,300 have died since the latest outbreak of the disease was confirmed in March.

Aside from the UNMEER funding, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that it needs USD 988 million to respond to the outbreak. So far, USD 257 million – or 26 per cent – has been raised.

Meanwhile, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is warning that the Ebola health crisis must not be allowed to become a crippling socio-economic crisis as well, as two of its officials began a visit to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. “This devastating health crisis is destroying lives and communities. It is also impairing national economies, wiping out livelihoods and basic services, and could undo years of efforts to stabilize West Africa,” Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Magdy Martínez-Solimán said.

“As we work together to end the outbreak, now is the time to ensure these countries can also continue to function and swiftly get back on their feet,” he added.

Source: first post

Tooth decay affects 12% of three-year-olds, says survey

More than one in 10 three-year-olds have tooth decay, the first survey of the age group shows. Public Health England researchers checked the teeth of nearly 54,000 children at nurseries, children’s centres and playgroups.

They found 12% of children had evidence of tooth decay. These youngsters had an average of three teeth that were decayed, missing or filled. Large variations were found from place to place in the study.

In one area – Leicester – 34% of children had tooth decay whereas in others it was only 2%. Researchers also said that some children had a particular type of decay known as early childhood caries. This affects the upper front teeth and spreads quickly to other teeth. It is linked to the consumption of sugary drinks in baby bottles or sipping cups. PHE said that parents should give their children sugary foods and drinks in smaller quantities and less often. It also urged them not to add sugar to weaning foods or drinks.

Parents and carers should also start brushing children’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appeared and supervise their brushing until they the age of seven or eight, PHE said. Previous research by the organisation has shown that by the age of five, one in four children has tooth decay.

Sandra White, director of dental public health at PHE, said while there had been “significant improvements” in oral health over the years, the findings were worrying.

“Tooth decay is an entirely preventable disease which can be very painful and even result in a child having teeth removed under general anaesthetic, which is stressful for children and parents alike.” Dr Christopher Allen, of the British Dental Association, said: “Parents and carers may feel that giving sugar-sweetened drinks is comforting, but in reality it’s more likely to cause pain and suffering as it is the major cause of tooth decay in toddlers.

“It’s never too soon to take your toddler to the dentist – ideally no later than 18 months – because dentists can identify and treat tooth decay at the earliest stage and advise parents on tooth brushing and prevention.”

Source: bbc news

Tobacco Tied to Higher Risk of Oral HPV Infection

Tobacco use in any form appears to be linked to an increased risk of infection with oral human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16), a virus that can cause cancers of the mouth and throat, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.


The odds of being infected with HPV16, a sexually transmitted disease, rise as tobacco use increases, the researchers said. As few as three cigarettes a day can increase the risk of infection with HPV by almost one-third, according to the study.

How tobacco use might influence HPV16 infection isn’t clear, said lead researcher Dr. Carole Fakhry, an assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“We don’t fully understand oral HPV16,” she said. “People exposed to tobacco could be more likely to become infected after exposure to HPV16 or less likely to get rid of the infection.”

Fakhry cautioned that this study does not prove that tobacco makes it easier to get HPV16, only that the two factors are linked. Since tobacco use is associated with other risky behaviors, it’s possible that people who use tobacco engage in more oral sex, which could increase their odds of being infected with HPV16, Fakhry explained.

She added that smoking, chewing or snorting tobacco doesn’t cause HPV16 infection, but may make it easier to get the infection. Nonsmokers are also at risk for HPV16, especially those exposed to secondhand smoke, she said.

HPV16, which is transmitted through oral sex, is linked to 80 percent of cancers located in the back of the throat, according to the researchers. Over the last 20 years, this type of cancer has increased 225 percent in the United States, the researchers noted.

This year alone, about 37,000 Americans, mostly men, will get mouth or throat cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). About 7,300 will die from these cancers, according to the ACS.

For the study, Fakhry and her colleagues collected data on nearly 7,000 men and women who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Among the participants, there were just over 2,000 tobacco users. More than 80 percent of tobacco users were cigarette smokers, according to the study. Other forms of tobacco use included chew, snuff and pipe smoking, the study found. Sixty-three of the tobacco users were infected with HPV16, the study reported.

The researchers measured blood levels of cotinine, a by-product of tobacco use, and found an amount equal to three cigarettes a day increased the risk of infection 31 percent, according to the study. When they measured urine levels of another tobacco-related marker, NNAL, the risk increased 68 percent when the levels equaled four cigarettes a day, the study found.

“This study highlights the need to understand the effect of tobacco on HPV16 infection over time,” Fakhry said. The report was published in the Oct. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Norman Edelman, a senior consultant for scientific affairs at the American Lung Association, said, “The connection between HPV and tobacco is probably real.”

The question is whether the connection is based in biology or social behavior, he said. Smoking may be a marker of increased oral sex, Edelman said. “If that is not true, then some of the contents of tobacco promote infection by this sexually transmitted virus, and that’s a very important finding,” he said.

Edelman added that studies have shown that nicotine increases tumor growth and the same could also be the case for viral infection. “There is a lot of other stuff in tobacco that causes inflammation,” he said. “So it may be that all the other inflammatory components of tobacco allow HPV to attack the tissues of the mouth and grow and stay put.”

This is yet another reason not to smoke, chew tobacco or use snuff, because it’s the same stuff going directly to the mouth, Edelman said. “Oral cancer is very nasty,” he said. Whatever the reason behind the increased risk of HPV16 infection for people who smoke, a vaccine for HPV — including HPV16 — is available for teens and young adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vaccine is routinely recommended for 11- and 12-year-old children, but can be given up to age 26 for both males and females, according to the CDC.

Source: web md

Surgeons use 3D-printed heart to save life of 2-week-old baby

A 2-week-old baby underwent surgery for a congenital heart defect, thanks to a 3D-printed model

Surgeons created a 3D model of the child’s heart using data from an MRI, which gave them a guide to perform the operation.

“The baby’s heart had holes, which are not uncommon with [congenital heart defect], but the heart chambers were also in an unusual formation, rather like a maze,” Dr. Emile Bacha, head of cardiac surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, who performed the surgery July 21 at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, told the News-Times.

“In the past, we had to stop the heart and look inside to decide what to do,” Bacha said. “With this technique, it was like we had a road map to guide us. We were able to repair the baby’s heart with one operation.”

Source : fox news

Sandwiches eaters have a higher energy intake

Sandwiches account for one-fifth of the body’s total sodium absorption, new research on the dietary intake of US adults shows. People who ate sandwiches had significantly higher energy intake than those who did not, it found.

Those who consumed a sandwich on the survey day took in, on average, around 300 kilo-calories more than those who did not report eating a sandwich. Sandwich reporters also had higher total sodium intake, averaging around 600 milli-grams per day higher than non-sandwich reporters.

“The unanticipated finding that sandwich consumption is associated with higher overall intake of energy underscores the importance of making healthy choices of sandwich ingredients,” said study co-author Cecilia Wilkinson Enns from the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

“Many sandwiches, such as burgers and franks, and common sandwich components, such as yeast breads, cheese, and cured meats, are among the top contributors not only to sodium but also to energy in the diets of adult Americans,” Enns added.

By closely analysing data from the federal nationwide dietary intake survey known as “What We Eat in America NHANES 2009-2010”, the researchers found that on any given day 49 percent of US adults eat at least one sandwich.

The study appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Source: Times of India

Reaction to coffee in your genes

Caffeine affects different people in different ways—and genetics could be the reason. Scientists have previously believed there is a genetic connection between individual responses to caffeine, but singling out the specific genetic variants has been a challenge. A recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry, however, provides new insight.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston performed a meta-analysis on 120,000 regular coffee drinkers. Participants came from different ancestries–American, European and African ancestry.

Two gene variants were identified in connection to caffeine metabolism: POR and ABCG2. Two other gene variants near genes BDNF and SLC6A4 were associated with the “reward” effect of caffeine Also, the genes GCKR and MLXIPL, which play a role in glucose and lipid metabolism, were connected to the metabolic and neurological effects of caffeine for the first time.

The study is believed to be a major step forward in the research of coffee effects. It could help scientists identify subgroups of people most likely to benefit from increasing their coffee intake and those who would be better off if they cut back.

Source: health central

Nobel Prize in Medicine 2014 awarded for discovering brain’s ‘inner GPS’ system

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet on Monday decided to award the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with one half to John O´Keefe and the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard I Moser for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.

Nobel Prize in Medicine 2014 awarded for discovering brain’s ‘inner GPS’ system

ohn O’Keefe was born in 1939 in New York, US. He is currently affiliated with the University College, London, UK. May-Britt Moser was born in 1963 in Fosnavag, Norway. She is currently affiliated with the Centre for Neural Computation, Trondheim, Norway. Edvard I Moser was born in 1962 in Alesund, Norway. He is currently affiliated with the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Trondheim, Norway.

How do we know where we are? How can we find the way from one place to another? And how can we store this information in such a way that we can immediately find the way the next time we trace the same path? This year´s Nobel Laureates have discovered a positioning system, an “inner GPS” in the brain that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function.

In 1971, John O´Keefe discovered the first component of this positioning system. He found that a type of nerve cell in an area of the brain called the hippocampus that was always activated when a rat was at a certain place in a room. Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at other places. O´Keefe concluded that these “place cells” formed a map of the room.

More than three decades later, in 2005, May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered another key component of the brain’s positioning system. They identified another type of nerve cell, which they called “grid cells”, that generate a coordinate system and allow for precise positioning and pathfinding. Their subsequent research showed how place and grid cells make it possible to determine position and to navigate.

The discoveries of John O´Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries – how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?

How do we experience our environment?

The sense of place and the ability to navigate are fundamental to our existence. The sense of place gives a perception of position in the environment. During navigation, it is interlinked with a sense of distance that is based on motion and knowledge of previous positions.

Questions about place and navigation have engaged philosophers and scientists for a long time. More than 200 years ago, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that some mental abilities exist as a priori knowledge, independent of experience. He considered the concept of space as an inbuilt principle of the mind, one through which the world is and must be perceived. With the advent of behavioural psychology in the mid-20th century, these questions could be addressed experimentally. When Edward Tolman examined rats moving through labyrinths, he found that they could learn how to navigate, and proposed that a “cognitive map” formed in the brain allowed them to find their way. But questions still lingered – how would such a map be represented in the brain?

John O´Keefe and the place in space

John O´Keefe was fascinated by the problem of how the brain controls behaviour and decided, in the late 1960s, to attack this question with neurophysiological methods. When recording signals from individual nerve cells in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, in rats moving freely in a room, O’Keefe discovered that certain nerve cells were activated when the animal assumed a particular place in the environment (Figure 1). He could demonstrate that these “place cells” were not merely registering visual input, but were building up an inner map of the environment. O’Keefe concluded that the hippocampus generates numerous maps, represented by the collective activity of place cells that are activated in different environments. Therefore, the memory of an environment can be stored as a specific combination of place cell activities in the hippocampus.

May-Britt and Edvard Moser find the coordinates

May-Britt and Edvard Moser were mapping the connections to the hippocampus in rats moving in a room when they discovered an astonishing pattern of activity in a nearby part of the brain called the entorhinal cortex. Here, certain cells were activated when the rat passed multiple locations arranged in a hexagonal grid (Figure 2). Each of these cells was activated in a unique spatial pattern and collectively these “grid cells” constitute a coordinate system that allows for spatial navigation. Together with other cells of the entorhinal cortex that recognize the direction of the head and the border of the room, they form circuits with the place cells in the hippocampus. This circuitry constitutes a comprehensive positioning system, an inner GPS, in the brain (Figure 3).

A place for maps in the human brain

Recent investigations with brain imaging techniques, as well as studies of patients undergoing neurosurgery, have provided evidence that place and grid cells exist also in humans. In patients with Alzheimer´s disease, the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex are frequently affected at an early stage, and these individuals often lose their way and cannot recognize the environment. Knowledge about the brain´s positioning system may, therefore, help us understand the mechanism underpinning the devastating spatial memory loss that affects people with this disease.

The discovery of the brain’s positioning system represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of how ensembles of specialized cells work together to execute higher cognitive functions. It has opened new avenues for understanding other cognitive processes, such as memory, thinking and planning.

Source: india medical times

9 fantastic properties of hot water and honey

Did you know that the combination of warm water and honey has multiple beneficial effects on your health?

1. Helps you with weight loss.
Sugar found in honey is natural and is a healthy source of calories. Not only that, but this combination will reduce the increased desire for sweets.

2. Improves digestion.
Honey and water can regulate the work of digestion system. Antiseptic effects of honey has favorable impact on your digestion, and the combination with water softens the stool.

3. Strengthens the immune system.
Honey has an amazing ability of neutralizing bacterias. Especially recommended is organic honey that has the most enzymes, minerals and vitamins that fight bacteria. Honey is an excellent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals.

4. Reduces allergies.
Natural honey from your region can help your body to get used to the pollen. In this case water is not required, but additional hydration cant do any harm.

5. Boosts energy.
No need to reach for coffee anymore for waking up – stir a little honey in warm water. This healthy combination can also restore enthusiasm and energy.

6. Soothes sore throat and soothes cough. According to the recommendation of the famous Mayo Clinic, hot water and honey can alleviate throat irritation and soothe the cough.

7. Detoxification.
Honey and water will help your body get rid of toxins. Good digestion, to which honey also affects, is responsible for the detoxification of the body. You will even have better results if you add lemon. The acid in lemon juice positively affects the function of enzymes and stimulates the liver.

8. Reduces gases.
Do you feel bloated and have gases? Find help in the mix warm water and lemon.

9. Improves health.
Not only that warm water and honey improve hydration in you’re body, but will also increase the level of good cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

5 ways to increase your water intake

A 2010 study by American Chemical Society of Boston says, “Drinking two glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner while also cutting back on portions may help you lose weight and keep it off for at least a year.” Well, weight loss is just one benefit of drinking water. From treating skin problems, reducing risk of heart ailments, regulating digestive system to curing headaches, water has many more benefits to offer. But, we can only be benefited when the intake is in an adequate amount. It is said that one should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. So, let’s explore ways on how we can increase water intake in our daily diet

Set a schedule
Begin with setting a schedule for yourself. As soon as you wake up, drink two glasses of water. After that, drink a glass of water every two hours. Set achievable targets and do not keep on drinking water all the time. Too much of it can also be bad for you. It can make your body cells bloat and you might experience dizziness and difficulty in breathing. So, strike a balance

Eliminate caffeinated and sugary drinks
The first step toward increasing your water intake is restricting consumption of caffeinated beverages. Prepare your shopping list in a way that can curb your unhealthy desire of cola and soda bottles and coffee jars. These have a diuretic effect and increase the risk of dehydration. This is why, water is the best bet to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you to avoid buying sugary drinks

Jump to water-rich foods and juices
Around 20 per cent of our water needs are met from the foods that are naturally high in water content. So, if you have more fruits and veggies you can boost your fluid intake. Try eating papaya, berries, oranges, cherries, grapes, peaches, watermelon, strawberries and apples. Among vegetables, you can go for carrots, broccoli, onions, cauliflower, peas, and tomatoes. An added advantage of having all these is that you will increase your vitamins and minerals consumption besides water. You can also have fruit juices. Although you will be adding a few calories if you have juices, you can discount a few calories by adding a little water to it

Drizzle some flavour
In order to do away with the bland taste of water you can add some flavour to it. Add mint leaves, flavours of orange, cucumber, strawberry and lemon. Get creative with wat
er and stay enthused. Beside these, you can also buy no-calorie seltzer water that is available in the market in various flavours

Urine check
The easiest way to find out whether you are taking sufficient amount of water or not is through a urine check. It is a good sign if it is pale yellow or clear, but if it is darker it means you are not getting enough water. You will complain of nausea, dizziness and experience a few signs of dehydration like dry and sticky mouth.

So, whether you want to lose weight, get a glowing skin or cure acne, water is the best option available. Drink as much water as you can to make your lifestyle a healthy one