What's the buzz...

What's the buzz...

Drug that helps the paralysed walk again

Scientists have developed a pill which they claim could help paralysed people walk again.
The new drug allowed mice with no movement in their lower limbs to walk with ‘well-coordinated steps’ and even to replicate swimming motions, researchers said.

The experimental drug, called LM11A-31, was developed by Professor Frank Longo, of Stanford University, California.

The researchers gave three different oral doses of LM11A-31, as well as a placebo, to different groups of mice beginning four hours after injury and then twice daily for a 42 day experimental period, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

In tests, the experimental medication did not increase pain in the mice and showed no toxic effects on the animals. It also efficiently crossed the blood brain barrier, which protects the central nervous system from potentially harmful chemicals carried around in the rest of the bloodstream.

An injury to the spinal cord stops the brain controlling the body and this is the first time an oral drug has been shown to provide an effective therapy.

“This is a first to have a drug that can be taken orally to produce functional improvement with no toxicity in a rodent model,” Professor Sung Ok Yoon, of Ohio State University, Columbus, said.

“So far, in the spinal cord injury field with rodent models, effective treatments have included more than one therapy, often involving invasive means. Here, with a single agent, we were able to obtain functional improvement,” Yoon said.

The small molecule in the study was tested for its ability to prevent the death of cells called oligodendrocytes.
Synthetic bone to help dental implants.

Australian researchers are developing artificial bone to help replace missing teeth, a method which could reduce the pain involved in dental implant procedure. The four-year study, which has been granted a National Health and Medical Research Council Grant of over 66,000 dollar, is being undertaken by doctorate candidate and periodontist Jamil Alayan from Griffith University’s School of Dentistry and Oral Health.

Alayan along with a team are using the latest tissue engineering technology to produce totally synthetic bone “scaffolds” that can be grafted into the patient’s jawbone. These will then provide a viable foundation within which to place titanium dental implants.

“Traditionally, people with missing teeth who have lost a lot of jawbone due to disease or trauma, would need to have these replaced with dental implants using their own bone. This bone is usually derived from their jaw, but occasionally it has to be derived from their hip or skull,” Alayan said in a university statement.

“These procedures are often associated with significant pain, nerve damage and post-operative swelling, as well as extended time off work for the patient,” Alayan said. “By using artificial bone, we can instigate a much less invasive method of bone and tooth replacement.

A big benefit for the patient is that the risks of complications using this method will be significantly lower because bone doesn’t need to be removed from elsewhere in the body. We also won’t have the problem of limited supply that we have  when using the patient’s own bone,” he added.

Eating vegetables could
help digest red meat
A healthy complement of vegetables can help in the digestion of steak or beef and prevent illnesses that come with diet heavy in red meat, scientists from New Zealand said Wednesday.
Experts with the government-run Plant and Food Research Institute investigated the effects of red meat consumption with and without fermentable carbohydrates on the bowel health of rats, Xinhua reported.
The research published in the Journal of Food Science suggested that the impact of red meat consumption on bowel health could be reduced if it was eaten with fermentable dietary fiber such as that found in potatoes. Fermentable carbohydrates, including most fruits and vegetables, delivered a colonic energy source that produced less harmful by-products than the microbial breakdown of colonic protein for energy.
“The proteins we eat can influence the metabolism of microbiota in our gut and therefore our bowel heath,” scientist Chrissie Butts said.

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