What's the buzz...

What's the buzz...

Common supplement can cure spinal injury

A team, including an Indian-origin researcher, has found that a commonly used supplement might improve outcomes and recovery for individuals who sustain a spinal cord injury (SCI). According to research conducted by University of Kentucky neuroscientists, experimental models show that severe spinal cord injury can be treated effectively by administering the supplement acetyl-L-carnitine or ALC, a derivative of essential amino acids that can generate metabolic energy, soon after injury.

Sasha Rabchevsky, associate professor of physiology, Patrick Sullivan, associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology, and Samir Patel, senior research scientist -- all of the UK Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) -- previously reported that following spinal cord injury, the mitochondria are overwhelmed by chemical stresses and lose the ability to produce energy in the form of the compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This leads to cell death at the injury site and, ultimately, paralysis of the body below the injury level.

They have found that ALC can preserve the vitality of mitochondria by acting as an alternative biofuel providing energy to cells, thus bypassing damaged mitochondrial enzymes.
Child’s IQ doesn’t determine dyslexia

Schools and psychologists have historically relied on a child’s IQ to define and diagnose dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that impairs a person’s ability to read.
If children with poor reading abilities aren’t diagnosed as dyslexic, they don’t qualify for services that a typical dyslexic does, and they’re not taught strategies to overcome specific problems in the way they view and process words.

But researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have said that this approach is not correct and claimed that IQ should not determine diagnosis of dyslexia.

Using an imaging technique, they have found that the brain activation patterns in children with poor reading skills and a low IQ are similar to those in poor readers with a typical IQ, and that their reading problems were not related to their general cognitive ability.

These new findings provide “biological evidence that IQ should not be emphasized in the diagnosis of reading abilities,” said Fumiko Hoeft,  author of the study.

Women smokers likely to have chronic pain syndrome

A study has found that women who smoke heavily may experience more chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky surveyed more than 6,000 Kentucky women over age 18 on their smoking habits and symptoms of chronic pain. They found that women who smoke, or were former smokers, had a greater chance of reporting at least one chronic pain syndrome.

Syndromes included in the analysis were fibromyalgia, sciatica, chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, joint pain, chronic head pain, nerve problems, and pain all over the body.

Former smokers showed a 20 per cent increase, occasional smokers showed a 68 per cent increase, and in daily smokers the odds more than doubled (104 percent).

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