Most Popular Health News Articles for 2014

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Most Popular Health News Articles for 2014

Most Popular Health News Articles for 2014

Tamara Vasic

As we know medicine progressed a lot in the last few years, and every day something new is being discovered. If it continues at this rate, it is possible that in 10 or 20 years we will have a cure for AIDS, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Today I will show you what is new that was discovered in the previous year.

Soft spinal implants show promise as long-term solution to paralysis

In theory it should be possible to implant devices that send the right mix of electrical pulses and chemicals down the spinal cord to restore movement after paralysis. But the practical challenge is finding not only something that functions, but also that matches the soft tissue of the spinal cord.The e-Dura implant is made of a material that matches the soft tissue of the spinal cord.

The new implant matches the shape and mechanical properties of the dura matere-Dura implant can remain for a long period of time on the spinal cord or the cortex, precisely because it has the same mechanical properties as the dura mater itself. This opens up new therapeutic possibilities for patients suffering from neurological trauma or disorders, particularly individuals who have become paralyzed following spinal cord injury

Dose of measles virus destroys woman's incurable cancer

In what they describe as a proof of principle study, doctors in the US were able to keep a woman with deadly multiple myeloma - an incurable bone marrow cancer - free of all signs of living cancer cells for over 6 months by giving her just one high dose of measles virus.

Two patients received a single intravenous dose ofmeaslesvirus that was engineered to killmyelomaplasma cells and not harm other cells.The team, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, says both patients responded to the treatment, showing reduced bone marrowcancerand levels of myeloma protein.But one patient, a 49-year-old woman, experienced complete remission and remained disease-free for over 6 months.This is the first study to establish the feasibility of systemic oncolytic virotherapy for disseminated cancer. These patients were not responsive to other therapies and had experienced several recurrences of their disease."

Contraceptive microchip: could it revolutionize global birth control?

MicroCHIPS, an IT start-up company with links to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing a radical new contraceptive - a tiny microchip implanted under the skin that can be operated wirelessly by remote control.

The chip contains tiny reservoirs of the hormone levonorgestrel, which is already used in some contraceptives. The chip dispenses 30 mcg of levonorgestrel every day, and can hold enough of the hormone to do this for up to 16 years.

When a woman wishes to conceive, she simply turns off the device with a remote. The chip would not need to be removed from the woman until 16 years of use have elapsed. By contrast, current hormonal birth control implants last a maximum of 5 years.

MicroCHIPS,with the backing of Bill Gates, plan to submit the implant for preclinical testing in the US next year, and believe that the device could go on sale by 2018.

Smartphone app reduces stress for anxious people

New research published in the journalClinical Psychological Sciencesuggests playing a science-based app on a smartphone for 25 minutes can reduce levels of anxiety in people who are stressed.The new app is a "game" based on a new cognitive approach to treating anxiety known as attention-bias modification training (ABMT).

The core principle of ABMT is to train patients to ignore a perceived threat and to turn their attention instead to a non-threatening stimulus. For example, to ignore an angry face and focus instead on a happy or neutral face.

The app (iOS only) is available for free in the App Store under the name of "Personal Zen." Dr. Dennis went on to say:"It's a beta version and we are planning a major redesign, but our clinical tests support efficacy of the app in this format for stress and anxiety reduction. We have several ongoing studies, but please know that this is not yet a validated clinical treatment for anxiety.

Arthritis drug helps bald man grow full head of hair

There is no cure or treatment for alopecia universalis , an uncommon autoimmune disease that causes loss of hair over the entire scalp and body. Now doctors at Yale University in New Haven, CT, report how they successfully restored hair on the head and other parts of the body in a 25-year- old man with the disease that had left him nearly completely hairless all over.

They write about the treatment and the results in theJournal of Investigative Dermatologyand say it is the first reported case of a successfully targeted treatment for this rare form ofalopecia areata, which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles.After the treatment, which uses an FDA-approved drug forrheumatoid arthritiscalled tofacitinib citrate, the patient regained a full head of hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, plus facial, armpit, groin and other hair, none of which he had when he first sought medical help.

Tofacitinib had already been used successfully in humans to treat psoriasis - and in lab mice, it has been shown to reverse a less extreme form of alopecia called alopecia areata. So it made sense, the researchers thought, to see if the drug could tackle the alopecia universalis as well as the psoriasis.

Caffeine may boost long-term memory

Numerous studies have suggested that caffeine has many health benefits. Now, new research suggests that a dose of caffeine after a learning session may help to boost long-term memory. This is according to a study published in the journalNature Neuroscience.

The research team, led by Daniel Borota of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, notes that although previous research has analyzed the effects of caffeine as a cognitive enhancer, whether caffeine can impact long-term memory has not been studied in detail.To find out, the investigators analyzed 160 participants aged between 18 and 30 years.

They were randomized to receive either 200 mg of caffeine in the form of a pill, or a placebo tablet. The next day, the participants were shown the same pictures as well as some new ones. The researchers asked them to identify whether the pictures were "new," "old" or "similar to the original pictures.From this, the researchers found that subjects who took the caffeine were better at identifying pictures that were similar, compared with participants who took the placebo.

The team also found that memory performance was not improved if subjects were given caffeine 1 hour before carrying out the picture identification test.They say it may block adenosine, preventing it from stopping the function of norepinephrine - a hormone that has been shown to have positive effects on memory.