Biomedical Laboratory Science

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Thyroid Hormone Receptors and Resistance to Thyroid Hormone Disorders

Thyroid hormone action is predominantly mediated by thyroid hormone receptors (THRs), which are encoded by the thyroid hormone receptor α (THRA) and thyroid hormone receptor β (THRB) genes. Patients with mutations in THRB present with resistance to thyroid hormone β (RTHβ), which is a disorder characterized by elevated levels of thyroid hormone, normal or elevated levels of TSH and goitre.

Mechanistic insights about the contributions of THRβ to various processes, including colour vision, development of the cochlea and the cerebellum, and normal functioning of the adult liver and heart, have been obtained by either introducing human THRB mutations into mice or by deletion of the mouse Thrb gene. The introduction of the same mutations that mimic human THRβ alterations into the mouse Thra and Thrb genes resulted in distinct phenotypes, which suggests that THRA and THRB might have non-overlapping functions in human physiology.

These studies also suggested that THRA mutations might not be lethal. Seven patients with mutations in THRα have since been described. These patients have RTHα and presented with major abnormalities in growth and gastrointestinal function. The hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis in these individuals is minimally affected, which suggests that the central T3 feedback loop is not impaired in patients with RTHα, in stark contrast to patients with RTHβ.

Overview of tissues and homeostatic functions affected in RTHα and RTHβ.

'Living' Cartilage Grown Using Stem Cells Could Prevent Hip Replacement Surgery

An alternative to hip replacement surgery may be in sight. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers reveal how it may be possible to use a patient's own stem cells to grow new cartilage in the shape of a hip joint.

Furthermore, the team - including researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO - says it is possible to program the newly grown cartilage to release anti-inflammatory molecules, which could stave off the return of arthritis - the most common cause of hip pain.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), osteoarthritis is the primary cause of hip joint damage that requires hip replacement surgery, causing severe pain and disability.

Hip replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, involves surgically removing the diseased part of the hip and replacing it with new, prosthetic parts. Each year in the United States, more than 332,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed.

Researchers describe how they could use a patient's own stem cells to grow new cartilage that covers
a 3-D scaffold molded to the shape of their hip joint.

Afraid of Failure? Think Like a Scientist and Get Over It

I recently had a wonderful conversation with my friend, Beck Tench. During our chat, Beck told me about an interesting shift in thinking that occurred while she worked at a science museum.

During her time there, Beck said that she learned how to treat failure like a scientist.

How does a scientist treat failure? And what can we learn from their approach?

Here’s what Beck taught me…

Source: entrepreneur

Osteoarthritis can be Caused by Senescent Cells

Researchers have uncovered evidence that cellular senescence - whereby cells stop dividing - is a cause of osteoarthritis, and they suggest targeting these cells could offer a promising way to prevent or treat the condition.

Study co-author Dr. James Kirkland, director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues publish their findings in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is a condition in which cartilage - the tissue that protects the end of each bone in a joint - wears away, causing the underlying bones to rub together. This can cause pain, swelling, and poor joint movement.

As the condition worsens, the bones may lose shape. Additionally, growths called bone spurs may arise, and bits of bone and cartilage can break off and float around the space in the joint. This can trigger an inflammatory response that exacerbates pain, as well as cartilage and bone damage.

Researchers say that targeting senescent cells may have the potential to prevent or treat osteoarthritis.
Source: medicalnewstoday

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Blood test for Tuberculosis

Together with AIDS, tuberculosis ranks among those infectious diseases with the highest global mortality rate, claiming the lives of between 1.5 and two million people every year. However, not everyone infected with the bacterium develops tuberculosis. In fact, fewer than ten percent of those infected go on to manifest the disease. An international team of scientists, including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, have now developed a tuberculosis test that can reliably predict whether an individual will develop active tuberculosis. Doctors may be able to use this test in future to predict the progression of the disease and initiate medical care early.

In future, molecules from blood samples can tell physicians if somebody will develop tuberculosis.

Source: cli-online

How Hepatitis C Spreads

You may have heard of hepatitis C (HCV or hep C), the potentially deadly virus that causes liver inflammation. HCV often produces no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, which makes it hard to know you’ve been infected. However, if you understand the ways in which hep C spreads, you can take precautions to reduce your risk of contracting this virus.

What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis, in general, refers to liver inflammation. Many things can cause liver inflammation, including toxic chemicals, medications and drug or alcohol abuse. These types of hepatitis sometimes clear up on their own and may not even require treatment.

Poor Protein Control Key to Alzheimer's Progression

Despite decades of research, the molecular mechanisms behind Alzheimer's disease are poorly understood. New research investigating the pattern of protein build-up in Alzheimer's brains may open the door to a deeper understanding.

Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia, with an estimated 5 million Americans living with the disease today.

It is a progressive condition, normally appearing around the age of 60.

Alzheimer's disease begins with mild memory loss and can end with the individual losing touch with the environment around them.

Although a great deal has been learned about the disease, there is no cure, and many questions remain unanswered.

Alzheimer's is characterized by a build-up of proteins in the brain, known as plaques and tangles.

Mapping the way in which protein is managed in the brain gives fresh insight into Alzheimer's.

Sleep Problems Could Mean Higher Stroke Risk

That said, researchers stopped short of recommending drug treatment for sleep-wake disorders.

If you're having trouble sleeping at night, your problems could be worse than just being tired: Both insomnia and oversleeping could increase your risk of having a stroke.

New findings, published Wednesday in Neurology, indicate that sleep disorders, like insomnia and sleep apnea, are associated with stroke risk and could hamper stroke recovery. Researchers combined data from multiple studies that focused on the sleep-stroke connection.

"Although sleep disorders are common after a stroke, very few stroke patients are tested for them," said study author Dr. Dirk M. Hermann in a statement. "The results of our review show that should change, as people with sleep disorders may be more likely to have another stroke or other negative outcomes than people without sleep problems, such as having to go to a nursing home after leaving the hospital."

 Both insomnia and oversleeping could increase your risk of having a stroke.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

High-Fat Diet in Pregnancy Reduces Beneficial Gut Microbiota for Offspring

Eating a high-fat diet during pregnancy could alter the population of gut microbiota in offspring, which may have negative implications for nutrition and development. This is the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Genome Medicine.

It is well established that what women eat and drink during pregnancy can influence the health and development of their child.

For example, it is recommended that expectant mothers consume 0.4 milligrams of folic acid every day in order to help prevent certain birth defects, and current advice says a healthy, balanced diet is best for both mother and baby.

Women who eat a high-fat diet in pregnancy may be putting their offspring's health and development at risk,
say researchers.

Funny Picture 19: My Response to: "How is Your Research Going on?"

Hypertension Prevalence Higher in Lower-Income Countries for the First Time

In an analysis of global health differences in hypertension occurrence, researchers find that high blood pressure is more common in low- and middle-income countries for the first time.

High blood pressure is the leading preventable risk factor responsible for disease burden worldwide. Raised blood pressure - which can result in cardiovascular disease,heart disease, stroke, and chronic kidney disease - was accountable for around 9-12 million deaths globally in 2013.

According to research published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, more than 30 percent of the adult population worldwide has high blood pressure, and 75 percent of those people live in low- to middle-income countries.

Previous reports have indicated that the prevalence of hypertension in low- and middle-income countries is on the rise, and is steady or decreasing in high-income countries. However, recent estimates of the differences between high blood pressure worldwide were unknown.

For the first time in history, global hypertension is at an all time high in low- and middle-income

Most Aggressive Form of Prostate Cancer on the Rise

A new analysis suggests infrequent screening has resulted in an increase in the number of men diagnosed with the metastatic form of the disease.

For decades, experts have said the diagnostic used to screen patients for prostate cancer is too unreliable to use routinely because it produces high rates of false positives and often results in additional unnecessary and invasive tests, as well as overtreatment. However, a new study suggests efforts to limit the use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test may be partially responsible for a rise in incidences of the most aggressive form of the disease.

Source: newsweek

Blood Tests You Need After Age 50


Five Blood Tests You Need After Age 50
  1. HCV for hepatitis C virus: The virus that kills more Americans than any other disease will probably surprise you: It's hepatitis C.
  2. Blood glucose test for diabetes: If you're overweight and have high blood pressure and a history of diabetes in your family, you're a prime candidate for a screening test of the sugar in your blood.
  3. Lipid panel for high cholesterol: If your cholesterol numbers are borderline or if you have another health condition like diabetes that would increase your risk of heart problems, you'll want to be tested.
  4. Bloodwork for sexually transmitted infections: If you have a new sexual partner, multiple sexual partners, or don't typically use condoms, mention it to your doc.
  5. TSH test for hypothyroidism: If your thyroid-stimulating hormone blood test reveals that you have high TSH, you have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism.

Source: prevention

Genetic Testing Before Pregnancy Should Be as Common as Taking Folic Acid

Very few pre-pregnancy checklists include carrier screening as an important health item.

The very first time I had to tell a patient that she was at 25 percent risk of having a baby with cystic fibrosis, she was already 16 weeks pregnant. Only a few months prior, I had graduated and passed my board exam for genetic counseling. This was a "textbook case," as the saying goes. I reviewed the numbers with her and her husband: Odds were in their favor that this pregnancy would not be affected with cystic fibrosis. This couple wanted to know – they needed to know – with more certainty about what to expect. They were older first-time parents, and they agreed that they did not have the financial or emotional means to raise a child with a chronic health issue.

Carrier screening should be universally offered in the preconception period, one expert argues.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I Want to be a Medical Lab Technologist. What will my Salary be?

The job: Medical laboratory technologist

The role: From throat swabs to cancer screens, blood tests to DNA tests, Canadians generate over 440 million medical test results a year, which are conducted by medical laboratory technologists (MLTs).

“We would have been there the day you were born to test you for certain disorders as a baby, and you would have never known,” says Christine Nielsen, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science in Hamilton . “As a healthy adult, when your doctor sends you off for lab tests and just wants to see what your glucose [level] is, your specimen goes through our people.”

National Microbiology Lab technician, Lillian Mendoza, processes patient samples for the measles
virus and genotyping in Winnipeg Manitoba, February 19, 2015.

Could Regrowing Limbs be a Medical Possibility?

Although the idea of regrowing an amputated limb sounds like science fiction, some experts believe that, one day, it could become science fact. According to recent findings, the answers may be glimpsed in genes that we share with our very distant relatives.

Although humans cannot regrow lost limbs, there is a range of species that can regenerate lost appendages.

These animals include echinoderms, such as starfish and sea cucumbers; amphibians, including the axolotl and newt; and certain fish species.

Although these animals are considered to be far-removed from humanity, because we all evolved from a joint ancestor, we still share large quantities of genetic information.

And, humanity's ability to regenerate has not been completely lost. Although it is now limited to regrowing fingertips and healing wounds, similar genetic mechanisms are thought to be at work.

Limb generation may be a long way down the road, but genetic studies give a glimmer of hope.
Axolotls can regrow entire limbs with ease.

Literature Review: Targeting Mutant Kinases

Small-Molecule Kinase Inhibitors Have Typically Been Designed To Inhibit Wild-Type Kinases Rather Than the Mutant Forms

Kinases have been the target of extensive research to identify drugs to treat a variety of diseases in which the wild-type kinase or a mutant kinase plays a crucial role. Kinase mutations frequently lead to an activated state where the kinase is always active and no longer tightly regulated. Considering resistance mutations are also important for kinase inhibitors. A frequent escape route is a mutation to the gatekeeper amino acid that blocks inhibitor binding. A variety of large screening panels have been developed that range from binding assays to enzyme assays, each with their unique pros and cons.

A variety of large screening panels have been developed that range from binding assays
to enzyme assays, each with their unique pros and cons. [nicolas_/Getty]
Source: genengnews

'Feeling Full' Hormone Increase in Seniors May Explain 'Anorexia of Aging'

Elderly adults often experience loss of appetite, resulting in weight loss and undernutrition. Now, researchers suggest this may be down to increased production of a hormone called peptide YY, which tells humans when they are feeling full.

Termed "anorexia of aging," loss of appetite is common among elderly adults, with around 15-20 percent of seniors experiencing unintentional weight loss as a result.

While loss of appetite in seniors can be driven by emotional issues, such as depression or grief, in many cases, no underlying cause can be found.

Previous research has suggested loss of appetite in the elderly may be down to reduced production of ghrelin - a hormone that tells humans when they are hungry.

However, the new study - conducted by Mary Hickson, professor of dietetics at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues - found the hormone peptide YY may be to blame.

Researchers identified increased production of the "feeling full" hormone PYY in elderly women,
which may explain why older adults often experience loss of appetite.

Next-Generation Sequencing and the Future of IVF

Medical laboratories play a vital role in helping patients achieve success with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Recent advances in genetic screening such as next generation sequencing (NGS) are revolutionizing how IVF will be performed in the future. NGS can sequence DNA and RNA more quickly than ever before. New applications like these technologies are raising hopes for improved IVF success rates to help patients achieve their dreams of building a family.

Preimplantation genetic screening
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, one in eight couples have trouble achieving or sustaining a pregnancy, and approximately 7.4 million women in the United States have received help for infertility. The use of ART has doubled over the past decade.

Source: mlo-online

Funny Picture 18: "We're all out of anti-biotic cream, so I'd like to share with you about the healing properties of a dog's tongue."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Science Finds a Super Easy Way to Lose Weight

Even if you order seemingly healthy dishes, your restaurant habit is likely derailing your weight loss efforts.

It’s been a long day, you’re tired, and the last thing you want to do is trudge to the grocery store and slave over the stove to make dinner. But hold up; don’t tell your hubby to meet you at your favorite restaurant just yet—especially if you’re trying to shed weight. According to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, nearly all restaurant entrées carry more calories than you should eat in a single meal. Even worse, a fair number of restaurants manage to load their meals with an entire day's worth of calories!

To come to this stomach-churning discovery, researchers from Tufts University visited both independent and chain restaurants across the country and purchased dozens of popular entrees from gyros and spaghetti to meatballs to burritos.

Eat This, Not That!

How to Perform CPR

Forget mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. This expert-backed technique is the correct way to perform this lifesaver

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating, which cuts off blood flow to the brain and other organs. If not treated, it can cause death within minutes. 

In fact, only about 10 percent of people overall who experience it outside a hospital survive with their brain functions intact, a new study in JAMA found.

But early action can stave off the Grim Reaper: When sudden cardiac arrest victims first received CPR from bystanders, they were more likely to survive with favorable prognoses, the researchers discovered.

But the way you perform CPR has changed in recent years. You no longer have to put your mouth on the victim’s.

Read more: How to Perform CPR

Source: snagfilms

Sleep Apnea Triggers Pediatric Fatty Liver Disease Progression

Obstructive sleep apnea and low nighttime oxygen - which results in oxidative stress - may trigger progression of pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) describes the accumulation of fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. In some individuals with the condition, the accumulated fat causes inflammation and scarring in the liver, resulting in a more serious form of the disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

A disease of epidemic proportions, rates of NAFLD are increasing worldwide in both adults and children. NAFLD affects an estimated 30 percent of the population in Western countries and up to 9.6 percent of all children.

Around 38 percent of obese children are affected across the NAFLD spectrum, which includes isolated hepatic steatosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and cirrhosis.

A combination of OSA and low nighttime oxygen triggered NAFLD progression in obese adolescents.

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