What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Discovery of possible cure for hair loss

UCLA scientists may have found a possible solution to an age-old problem — hair loss.
The researchers, along with the Veterans Administration that was investigating how stress affects gastrointestinal function may have found a chemical compound that induces hair growth by blocking a stress-related hormone associated with hair loss. “Our findings show that a short-duration treatment with this compound causes an astounding long-term hair regrowth in chronically stressed mutant mice,” said Million Mulugeta.
“This could open new venues to treat hair loss in humans through the modulation of the stress hormone receptors, particularly hair loss related to chronic stress and aging,” he added.

With age, mice produced a stress hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor, or CRF that is associated with hair loss. The Salk Institute researchers had developed the chemical compound, a peptide called astressin-B, and described its ability to block the action of CRF. About three months later, the investigators found that they had regrown hair on their previously bald backs.

Treatment for cause of childhood blindness

The results of a multicentre clinical trial, led by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston (UTHealth), hold potentially good news for preterm infants who develop an eye condition that may cause blindness.

A readily available, inexpensive drug therapy showed a significant benefit in treating premature infants with the worst and historically most difficult-to-treat cases of retinopathy of prematurity.

Retinopathy of prematurity is a leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide. In the immature retina of babies born before 30 weeks’ gestational age, the disease results in disorganised growth of retinal blood vessels, which can lead to scarring and retinal detachment.

Helen A Mintz-Hittner, UTHealth Medical School, and colleagues compared the use of intravitreal bevacizumab, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor, to conventional laser treatment.

The study investigators treated infants with acute retinopathy of prematurity affecting zone I and posterior zone II — the retinal zones with the highest rate of treatment failure.

Common bone drugs may cut colon cancer risk

The use of bisphosphonates — drugs already taken by millions of healthy women to prevent bone-loss — for more than one year is associated with a 50 per cent reduction in the risk of postmenopausal colorectal cancer.

Prof Gad Rennert, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Medicine, says the findings further support the role of bisphosphonates as a possible new drug class for cancer prevention.

Rennert and colleagues extracted data from the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) study, a population-based case-control study in Israel, conducted together with Stephen Gruber, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The researchers found that the use of bisphosphonates prior to diagnosis was strongly associated with a significant reduced relative risk for colorectal cancer.

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