Biomedical Laboratory Science

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Short-Chain Fatty Acids In Control Of Body Weight And Insulin Sensitivity

The connection between the gut microbiota and the etiology of obesity and cardiometabolic disorders is increasingly being recognized by clinicians. Our gut microbiota might affect the cardiometabolic phenotype by fermenting indigestible dietary components and thereby producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These SCFA are not only of importance in gut health and as signaling molecules, but might also enter the systemic circulation and directly affect metabolism or the function of peripheral tissues.

In this Review, we discuss the effects of three SCFA (acetate, propionate and butyrate) on energy homeostasis and metabolism, as well as how these SCFA can beneficially modulate adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and liver tissue function.

Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) and liver function.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why Cockroach Milk Is the New Health Obsession

Health freaks will go to extreme lengths in the name of nutrients (and staying one step ahead of the trend), but I'm not afraid to say it: The latest "superfood" is just plain gross.

Taking stomach-churning to a whole new level is cockroach milk, which is comprised of the nutrient-rich milk crystals found inside the Pacific Beetle cockroach. This species uses said protein crystals as food for cockroach infants, but new research suggests that it could be beneficial to humans, too, as it's one of the most nourishing and highly caloric substances on the planet. It boasts four times as much protein as cow's milk, but also contains essential amino acids that promote cell growth, lipids that keep our bodies healthy, and sugars that fuel energy.

How Reliable Is The Glycemic Index?

Individual response to glycemic index values vary so much that it may not be useful in indicating blood sugar response, says research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The glycemic index (GI) of a food indicates the speed with which blood sugar can be expected to rise after a person eats it. Each food gets a score out of 100 on the index, for example, 40 for baked beans.

Glycemic load is a measure that applies the GI to a portion of food. The glycemic load for a 150-gram serving of baked beans would be 6.

GI is used to help people with diabetes to control their blood sugar. Some food labels carry GI measurements. More recently, a number of popular diets have been based on GI. Lists are available for people to check the GI and glycemic load of different foods.

People use the glycemic index as a guide to suitable foods, but is it a valid measure?

Validating the Performance of Body Fluid Specimens

In health care, the analysis of body fluids plays an important role in the diagnosis and management of a wide variety of conditions. Traditionally, clinical laboratorians have provided analysis of body fluid specimens without question while also recognizing the sometimes difficult work that goes into their collection. As standards for method validation and laboratory developed tests (LDTs) evolve, the analysis of body fluids is receiving increased attention from both laboratories and regulatory bodies.

The clinical laboratory’s overarching goal is to ensure accurate test results from all specimens. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every laboratory to investigate the analytical performance of the tests performed on the various fluid types accepted and to provide a context for result interpretation.

Source: medlabmag

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Serum Albumin Levels Associated with Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients

Serum albumin is commonly used as a proxy for nutritional status, as well as a marker of inflammation and a low serum albumin concentration is not only indicative of protein energy wasting in dialysis patients, but it is also a powerful predictor of the mortality risk in this population.

Several clinical conditions are associated with low serum albumin levels in dialysis patients, including infectious and inflammatory diseases, fluid overload, inadequate dialysis, severe co-morbidity, and taste change. Therefore, regular monitoring of serum albumin levels is useful for predicting outcomes in dialysis patients.

Read more: Enlarged Prostate: Molecular Mechanism Clue May Explain Link To Inflammation

The Hitachi 7600–210 modular clinical biochemistry analyzer (Photo courtesy of Hitachi).
Source: labmedica

Enlarged Prostate: Molecular Mechanism Clue May Explain Link To Inflammation

A new study reveals an important molecular clue about how inflammation may lead to prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia. The researchers believe their discovery may also lead to ways of overcoming resistance to androgen-targeted treatment for the condition.

Enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in older men where the prostate gland is enlarged and not cancerous.

As the prostate gland enlarges, it presses against and pinches the urethra, the tube that allows urine to leave the bladder. Also, the bladder wall gradually thickens and the bladder may get weaker and lose the ability to empty completely.

Enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in older men.

Two-Gene Panel Differentiates between Pediatric Bacterial and Viral Infections

A two-gene panel was shown to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections in children with fevers with 95-100% accuracy.

Since clinical features do not reliably distinguish bacterial from viral infection, many children worldwide receive unnecessary antibiotic treatment, while bacterial infection is missed in others. To solve this problem, investigators at Imperial College London (United Kingdom) sought to identify a blood RNA expression signature that could distinguish bacterial from viral infection in febrile children.

An example of an approximately 40,000 probe spotted RNA microarray with enlarged inset to show
detail (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
Source: labmedica

Cesarean Delivery May Increase Risk of Childhood Obesity

Children born by cesarean delivery may have an increased risk of becoming obese, compared with their siblings born by vaginal delivery, says study. This finding may have significant implications for the almost 1.3 million cesarean births per year in the United States.

Cesarean delivery is the most common U.S. surgical procedure and accounts for one third of deliveries nationwide.

The most common risk to children born via cesarean delivery is respiratory problems, while increasing evidence suggests children may also have an increased risk of other adverse health outcomes as adults.

Cesarean delivery can increase a child's risk of obesity into adulthood, study finds.

How To Prevent and Treat Fatty Liver

I have a Fatty Liver- Now what?
Many of my clients have digestive issues and think it is to do with a food they are eating. Sometimes they opt for allergy testing, others get blood work or an ultrasound done to see if there are any serious problems.

More and more clients are been diagnosed with a fatty liver and ask me now what do I do?

What is a fatty liver?
A fatty liver is the result of excess fat in the liver. This fat builds up when a person’s diet exceeds the amount of fat their body can handle. Having a fatty liver can lead to fatty liver disease, which then leads to chronic illnesses. Many who are overweight, have belly fat, are insulin resistant, pre- diabetic and who crave sugars and starches are likely have a fatty liver. Yet many who are ultimately healthy and not overweight are finding they to, have a fatty liver.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Antibiotics In Early Life Could Raise Children's Food Allergy Risk

Infection in the first year of life can be deadly for an infant, and antibiotic treatment is often the first port of call. But such treatment may have a downside; new research from the University of South Carolina finds early antibiotic exposure could raise a child's risk of food allergies.

While the study did not investigate the reasons behind this association, the researchers say it is likely down to changes in gut microbiota as a result of antibiotic treatment.

Lead author Dr. Bryan Love, of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, and colleagues report their results in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.

Previous research has suggested that changes to the composition of gut bacteria in early life can have negative implications for health, and antibiotics are known to do just that.

Early antibiotic exposure could raise children's risk of food allergies.

Point-Of-Care Hemoglobin Testing: Methods And Relevance To Combat Anemia

Anemia is a condition that causes a high degree of personal disability but, historically, has lacked adequate resourcing in many public health systems. This situation is even less understandable when you consider that the main diagnostic, hemoglobin testing, is one of the most commonly used point-of-care (POC) tests, and one of the easiest to perform.

POC hemoglobin testing is often needed in settings where the use of a benchtop laboratory hematology analyzer is not practical. It is ideal for use in settings where resources are poor, or there is a need for mobility and simplicity in field use, or where turnaround time (TAT) for the test result needs to be short, as in acute clinical situations.

Language Learning Boosts Brain Plasticity And Ability To Code New Information

By studying brain electrical activity of volunteers, researchers found that language acquisition enhances brain plasticity and capacity for learning. In particular, they note that early language learning plays a significant role in the rapid formation of memory circuits for coding new information.

In a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from the Higher School of Economics (HSE), in Moscow, Russia, and the University of Helsinki, in Finland, describe how they used EEG (electroencephalography) to probe the brain mechanisms involved in language learning in human volunteers.

Previous research has established that understanding the brain mechanisms involved in acquiring language helps enormously in the diagnosis and treatment of people with impaired speech following accidents, strokes, and other related conditions.

The researchers found that the more languages a volunteer had mastered, the faster the brain circuits
coding new information reacted.

Current Approaches For The Detection Of Acute Kidney Injury

Acute kidney injury is a recognized complication in hospitalized patients and is associated with a high morbidity and high mortality. This brief article aims to summarize the need for early detection of acute kidney injury and the current approach within NHS England to identify such patients.

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a recognized complication in hospitalized patients. A report in 2009 from National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) suggested that AKI was frequently undetected in hospital patients thus contributing to patient morbidity and mortality.

Clinical guidelines for recognition and treatment for acute kidney injury were published by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) in 2013 and reported an associated mortality with AKI of more than 25–30%. This guideline also recognized the prevalence of AKI in the primary care population in patients with or without acute illness.

NICE also recognized the impact of AKI on healthcare resources, with costs (excluding those in the community) of £434–620 million per year, more than that associated with breast, lung and skin cancer combined.

Table 1. Common causes of acute kidney injury.
Source: cli-online

Breast-Feeding May Reduce Asthma Symptoms For At-Risk Infants

A new study provides further evidence of the health benefits of breast-feeding, after finding infants with a genetic susceptibility for asthma development are less likely to experience symptoms of the condition if they are breast-fed.

Asthma is estimated to affect around 8.6 percent of children and adolescents in the United States, making it one of the most common chronic childhood diseases.

Asthma symptoms are the same for children as for adults; these include wheezing, coughing, breathing problems, and chest tightness. However, because children have smaller airways, symptoms may be more severe.

As a result, asthma is the third leading cause of hospital stays and a leading cause of missed school days for children in the U.S.

While the precise causes of asthma remain unclear, studies have suggested the respiratory condition may arise as a result of environmental and genetic factors.

Breast-feeding may reduce respiratory symptoms for children genetically susceptible to asthma

New Understanding Of Pulmonary Hypertension Leads To Promising Drug Targets

A groundbreaking new study led by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC has identified a new group of compounds that could have robust effects in treating pulmonary hypertension (PH), an enigmatic but sometimes fatal disease of the blood vessels of the lungs that currently has no cure. The findings, which were published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, highlight the use of these drugs to alter vessel stiffness and its downstream control of metabolism, a link previously unknown for people suffering from the progressive disease.

“If we aim to cure this disease, the next set of medications and treatments should be those that target the origin at the molecular level,” said Stephen Y. Chan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UPMC Center for Pulmonary Vascular Biology and Medicine at the Vascular Medicine Institute at Pitt, and senior author of the study. “As a community, we are struggling right now to understand those origins of PH, and this study aimed to address that untapped need.”

Source: bioengineer

Crohn's disease: Potential treatment to prevent fibrosis uncovered

Scientists from the University of British Columbia in Canada have found a mutation that switches off a hormone receptor, which prevents mice from developing fibrosis. This discovery could lead to potential treatments to prevent fibrosis in people with Crohn's disease.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis - affects around 1.6 million people in the United States. Most people are diagnosed with Crohn's disease before age 35, and while these life-long conditions can be treated, there is currently no cure.

Crohn's disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation to the lining of the digestive system. While the disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, the most commonly affected areas are the end of the small intestine (the ileum) or the large intestine (colon).

Scientists can potentially block complications of fibrosis in Crohn's disease by dampening particular
inflammatory cell types.

Electrical Immunosensor Detects Acute Myocardial Infarction

Heart disease and especially acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are the leading causes of death for both men and women and therefore, a fast and reliable diagnosis of heart attack or cardiac episode are urgently needed.

The most commonly used biomarkers are creatine kinase-MB, myoglobin, cardiac troponin T, and cardiac troponin I (cTnI), which is a subunit of the troponin complex found in cardiac muscle and is a highly specific and sensitive biomarker for the clinical diagnosis of AMI.

The core material used for the new immunosensor that detects proteins in the blood stream following
a heart attack, providing results in just one minute (Photo courtesy of Ulsan National Institute of
Science and Technology).
Source: labmedica

Liver Cancer Risk Influenced By Blood Selenium Levels

The risk of developing liver cancer may be significantly higher for people who have low levels of the nutrient selenium in their blood, suggests a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Selenium is a trace mineral present in soil, animal products, and plant-based foods, including seafood, Brazil nuts, organ meats, milk, and eggs.

The selenium content of food varies greatly, as it depends on how much of the element is in the plants animals consume, as well as how much is in the soil in which plants grow.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), selenium is essential for human health, with beneficial roles for reproduction, the immune system, and DNA synthesis.

Studies have also shown that selenium has antioxidant properties, meaning it can protect against oxidative stress - the process by which uncharged molecules called free radicals damage cells.

Low blood selenium levels may put people at greater risk of liver cancer.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Most Extreme Weight Loss Methods

A number of medical conditions improve with weight loss in general, regardless of the cause.. They include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, heartburn, joint pain, and depression.

While surgery is not considered “necessary” and is an individual’s choice, it is an option for people with BMI 35 and above if they have a medical condition related to obesity and for people with BMI 40 and above whether or not they have a related medical condition, according to according to Dr. William S. Yancy from Duke University Department of Medicine. Serious complications don’t happen often. But life-threatening side effects are possible, as is the case with any medical operation.

Watch: Slide Video

Amino Acids in Cancer Metabolism and Neuroscience

These Building Blocks Could Be Valuable Tools for Research

Amino acids are important building blocks for protein synthesis and are also intermediary metabolites that fuel biosynthetic reactions, thus playing a dual role in cellular metabolism. Accurate quantification of L-amino acids in body fluids or purified samples may provide valuable information for diagnostic and basic research studies.

Cellular Roles of Amino Acids in Cancer and Neurobiology
Cancer cells have altered metabolism and are known for their metabolic abnormalities. One example is the Warburg effect, in which there is increased glycolytic activity even in the presence of oxygen. Cancer cells depend on a high rate of aerobic glycolysis for continued growth and survival.

Figure 1. Glutamine and the metabolism of other amino acids as targets for cancer therapy.
[Int J Mol Sci 2015;16:22830–22855; doi:10.3390/ijms160922830]
Source: genengnews

Cracking the Enigma of Fatty Liver Disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects one out of four people in the world, making it the most prevalent of all liver diseases and a major public health problem. The disease is defined by abnormally increased fat deposition in liver cells, which can progress with the addition of inflammation and cell damage to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), leading to progressive stages of fibrosis and, finally, cirrhosis. Early NASH is characterized by fat and inflammation associated with minimal amounts of fibrosis, and late NASH is associated with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis. NAFLD is most closely associated with obesity and diabetes, although there are likely other genetic, nutritional, and environmental factors involved in the pathogenesis.

Although there are no approved pharmacologic treatments for NAFLD, NASH, or cirrhosis, there are over a dozen different companies researching possible treatments. However, the development of drug therapies for the NAFLD spectrum of disease is hampered by a number of challenges:
  • the chronic nature of the disorder and ultimately low morbidity and mortality,
  • the impact of weight loss on the disease,
  • a complex and poorly defined pathophysiology,
  • the lack of easily administered diagnostic testing, and
  • the evolving status of regulatory endpoints.

The results of multiple clinical trials over the next few years will clarify potential therapies and target
pathways.  © Sebastian Kaulitzki/Fotolia]
Source: genengnews

If You Are In Danger Of BREAST CANCER, Your Body Will Give You These 5 Signs!

Invasive breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in the US only. It’s the type of cancer with the highest incidence among women. According to the American Cancer Society, by the end of 2016, 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in America, 40,450 of which will be terminal.
Detecting the cancer early significantly increases the chances of successful treatment. Knowing the early signs and symptoms of invasive breast cancer can help you detect it in its early stages.
Fatigue is a common symptom in many types of cancer, including breast cancer. The thing is this type of fatigue cannot be alleviated by sleep or rest. Cancer-related fatigue is not caused by physical strain and is often accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, sleep disturbance and depression. This fatigue is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the body the cancer creates, according to scientists.

Heatwaves, Cold Snaps May Raise Preterm Birth Risk

Being pregnant during a heatwave is far from the most pleasant scenario for a woman, but new research finds such extreme temperatures may do more than make expectant mothers uncomfortable; they could increase the risk of preterm birth.

In a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that exposure to extreme cold or intense heat during pregnancy increased women's preterm birth risk by up to a fifth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, around 1 in 10 infants in the United States were born preterm - defined as the birth of a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death in the U.S., and it is also a primary cause of long-term disabilities and neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy and developmental delay.

Researchers say exposure to extreme heat or cold during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm

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