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Revolutionary Skin Patch

Revolutionary skin patch may spell end of fear and pain caused by common injections.

microneedle patch.

Medication through skin with minimum discomfort

.microneedle patch-1

It is the perfect invention for those with a fear of needles.

A patch that takes the pain out of injections has been developed by scientists.

The stamp-sized patch is studded with dozens of tiny needles, each a fraction of a millimetre long  –  the equivalent of the width of a few strands of hair.

Coated with medicine, it reaches far enough through the skin to deliver the drug but not deep enough to hit the nerves that cause pain.

Researchers say the patch could be especially useful for sufferers of age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.

Although new drugs can improve symptoms, they must be injected directly into the eye each month  –  something that would be relatively simple by using one of the patches.

Dr Mark Prausnitz, of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in the U.S., said: ‘It’s our goal to get rid of the need for hypodermic needles and replace them with a patch that can be applied by a patient.
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The ‘microneedle’ patch that could make traditional jabs redundant
‘If you can move to something that’s as easy to apply as a plaster, you’ve opened the door for people to self-administer their medicine.’

The first tests on people could be carried out next year, the American Chemical Society‘s annual conference heard.
Dr Prausnitz added: ‘Although it would probably first be used in a clinical setting, our vision is to have a self-administered flu vaccine patch. So instead of making an appointment with your doctor to get your flu shot, you can stop by the pharmacy or even get a patch in the mail and self-apply.
‘We think that could very much increase the vaccine coverage since it would be easier for people to be vaccinated.’
The researchers administered flu vaccines to mice using conventional injections and microneedle patches.

They found that both produced the same number of immune system antibodies. But other measures of immune response showed a better reaction with the patches.

Source: Mail Online.Aug. 21.2009

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Eggs are Good for the Heart

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Eggs are not bad for heart health, say experts.

US egg expert Dr Don McNamara insists that their bad reputation is no longer warranted and even Heart Foundation has lifted its recommended intake to six eggs a week.

“Seniors have been afraid to eat eggs because for 40 years they have been worried about the dietary cholesterol,” the Herald Sun quoted nutritional biochemist McNamara as saying.

“But, over the years, the research has clearly shown that cholesterol in our food doesn’t impact our risk for heart disease – (what causes) that is saturated fat and trans fat,” he added.

Eggs are low in saturated fat and consist of some of the vital compounds like choline that are considered good for metabolism and for foetal brain development during pregnancy

It also contains lutein, which is known to lower the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.

McNamara said those who eat eggs for breakfast feel fuller for longer and reduce the risk of overeating at lunch.

“Eggs have the highest quality protein you can buy in the supermarket for the lowest cost, and they contain every vitamin and mineral we need except for vitamin C,” he said.

“So they easily fit into a healthy diet for people with normal cholesterol levels, people with high cholesterol levels, diabetics and people with metabolic syndrome,” he added.

The Heart Foundation had conducted a survey earlier this year and reissued its guideline to recommend people eat up to six eggs a week.

“Cholesterol in food doesn’t equal cholesterol in the blood,” said the foundation’s healthy weight spokeswoman Monique Blunden.

“It’s the saturated fat and trans fat we consume that is directly related to the rise in cholesterol in the blood,” she added.

Source: The Times Of India

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Fish Oils Might Prevent Age-Related Blindness

A typical fish oil softgel
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Superfoods containing omega 3 and fish oils may help prevent the most common cause of blindness in old age, say scientists.

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The benefits of eating oily fish like mackerel and nuts are already recognised in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and heart attacks.

But new US research suggests omega 3 fatty acids can also protect against the .loss of vision that develops with age,known as AMD (age-related macular degeneration).
Around 200,000 Britons each year suffer AMD and there is no preventative treatment, although laser surgery and drugs can limit damage caused by the disease.
It is the most common cause of sight loss in people over 50 and robs people of the central vision necessary for reading, driving or simply recognising people’s faces.
A team at the National Eye Institute in Maryland, US, who fed mice with high levels of Omega 3 found those eating more fish oils had lower levels of AMD.
The condition improved in 57 per cent of mice fed the highest levels for at least 12 weeks, compared with just four per cent on lower levels of omega 3.
It is unclear how omega 3 works but the mechanism may be anti-inflammatory.
The mice that responded best had lower levels of inflammation – thought to be linked with the development of AMD – and higher rates of anti-inflammatory molecules.
In a report that will appear in the American Journal of Pathology next month, the scientists said ‘The results provide the scientific basis for omega 3 fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of AMD.
Dr Chi-Chao Chan, who led the research team, said the results should apply in humans although the exact amount and duration of omega 3 needed to confer long-term benefits had to be determined.
She said: ‘The results in these mice are in line with epidemiological studies of AMD risk reduction and we plan to use this model to evaluate other therapies that might delay the development of the disease.
‘We think the findings are applicable in humans and it probably means a daily intake of omega 3.’The findings suggest regular consumption of a diet high in omega 3 would cut the risk of the disease and might also improve sight if taken up after it had developed, she added.
Britons are currently advised to eat fish at least twice a week, including one portion of oily fish.
The best dietary source of omega 3 fatty acids is oily fish because the human body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids.
There has been an explosion in the number of foods fortified with omega-3 oils, such as chickens, margarine, eggs, milk and bread, but they contain only small amounts.
Types of fish that contain high levels include tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies.Fish oil supplements are recommended as protection against heart attacks and sudden death, with regular fish eaters a third more likely to survive a heart attack.

Omega 3 fats work in several ways to reduce heart attack risk by cutting blood fats, reducing the chances of a blood clot and blocking dangerous heart rhythms that might otherwise prove fatal.In addition, trials have shown fish oils can help prevent depression.Taking fish oils in pregnancy has been found to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and improve birthweight.
Previous research also shows supplements of certain antioxidant vitamins and other nutrients may ward off AMD.

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Source:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1201603/Fish-oils-help-prevent-age-related-blindness.html#ixzz0MKIHCxTX

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New Surgery For AMD Patients

An innovative form of eye surgery is offering hope to the estimated three million sufferers of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in people over 55 in the UK.
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The technique, known as IOL VIP – Intra-Ocular Lenses for Visually Impaired People, is similar to cataract surgery. Developed in Milan by low-vision specialists and ophthalmologists, it was first made available in the UK about 18 months ago and is now performed in private hospitals, although it isn’t currently available on the NHS.

AMD damages the macula – the central part of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye – causing scarring, and preventing images being sent to the brain. This damage causes the gradual deterioration, or even loss, of central vision used for activities such as reading, writing, driving and recognising faces.
Eye

Hope: Treatment is now available for ‘dry’ AMD

There are two types of AMD: ‘dry’, the most common form, in which the cells of the macula disintegrate gradually; and the more aggressive ‘wet’ form. The latter is caused by the growth of new blood vessels behind the retina, which can leak, causing scarring and leading to loss of sight.

About ten per cent of people with AMD develop the ‘wet’ form, which can be treated with eye injections. But, until recently, there has been no effective treatment for the majority, who suffer from ‘dry’ AMD.

In the pioneering IOL VIP procedure, two artificial lenses are inserted into the eye. The natural lens behind the iris is removed and replaced with an artificial one, which diverts images from the scarred macula to healthy retinal tissue.

A second lens is then placed in front of the iris. Together, the two lenses act as a telescope, allowing the images to be focused and processed to the optic nerve and sent to the brain. The procedure can last as little as 30 minutes. It then takes approximately 12 weeks for sight to stabilise.

After the operation, computer vision training is vital to train the eye and get the best possible outcome.

Richard Newsom, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon, says: ‘The IOL VIP procedure is an exciting new innovation. It’s not appropriate for every patient with AMD and further studies are required but when it works, it works well and for some patients it can make a significant improvement to their vision.’

Brendan Moriarty, consultant eye surgeon at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, Cheshire, who was the first to perform the operation in the UK, says: ‘If you select patients correctly, the vast majority will at least double their near and distance vision.’

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists agrees further studies are required, stating that it is difficult to determine who will benefit and by how much.

The Macular Disease Society says it is not ‘a miracle cure’ and ‘has worked successfully for some but can’t be regarded as a regular new treatment for widespread use in MD patients’.

One patient who has benefited from the pioneering procedure, however, is 68-year-old Evelyn Dean.

Having suffered from ‘dry’ AMD for two-and-a-half years, Evelyn’s sight had deteriorated so much that she couldn’t read a book or newspaper-without a strong magnifying glass. To her dismay, it also got so bad she was told that she could no longer drive.

But, following an IOL VIP operation in November 2008 at Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital, Evelyn has been given the all-clear to get back behind the wheel.

She says: ‘ I can even read the labels on supermarket shelves properly, which I couldn’t before. I still wear glasses for long distances and reading but the best thing is being able to drive again after almost 15 months.

‘I feel like I have my freedom back.’

Sources: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1200549/New-surgery-save-thousands-blindness.html#ixzz0LiXZkEUz

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Tuna ‘Prevents Macular Degeneration’

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Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as tuna and salmon may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) progression,  depending upon the stage of the disease, suggest researchers.
C.LICK TO. SEE
AMD is a progressive disease that attacks central vision, resulting in a gradual loss of eyesight and, in some cases, blindness

During the study, the research team from Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research (LNVR) and Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University calculated the intakes of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) among 2,924 patients aged 55 to 80 years.

The findings revealed that taking supplements of antioxidants plus zinc prevents progression of late-stage AMD.

“In our study, we observed participants with early stages of AMD in the placebo group benefited from higher intake of DHA, but it appears that the high-dose supplements of the antioxidants and/or the minerals somehow interfered with the benefits of DHA against early AMD progression,” said senior author Dr Allen Taylor, director of the LNVR at the USDA HNRCA.

The antioxidant supplements did not seem to interfere with the protective effects of DHA and EPA against progression to advanced stages of AMD.

The study also showed that participants who consumed higher amounts of DHA and EPA appeared to have lower risk of progression to both wet and dry forms of advanced AMD.

“Data from the present study also shows the supplements and omega-3 fatty acids collaborate with low-dietary glycemic index (dGI) diets against progression to advanced AMD,” said corresponding author Chung-Jung Chiu, DDS, PhD, a scientist in the LNVR and an assistant professor at TUSM.

“Our previous research suggests a low-GI diet may prevent AMD from progressing to the advanced stage,” Chiu added.

The researchers suggest that eating two to three servings of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, shellfish, and herring every week would achieve the recommended daily intake of DHA and EPA, however, further research is required to conclude dietary recommendations for people with AMD.

Source:The study appears in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

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