what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Smoking delays fracture healing

Cigarette smoking leads to longer healing times and increased post-operative complications and infections for patients sustaining fractures or traumatic injuries to their bone, scientists, including an Indian-origin researcher, have warned.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that for all injury types, fractured bones in patients who smoke take roughly six weeks longer to heal than fractured bones in a non-smoker (30.2 weeks compared to 24.1 weeks).

They found that fractured bones in patients who smoke are 2.3 times more likely to result in non-healed fractures than in non-smokers.

"Cigarette smoking is widely recognised as one of the major causes of preventable disease in the US, but there has been a lack of evidence showing other side effects of smoking, such as how it changes the way our bones heal," said Samir Mehta, chief of the Orthopaedic Trauma and Fracture Service at Penn Medicine.

Studies included in the analysis focused on fractures of the tibia, femur or hip, ankle, humerus, and multiple long bones. The study will be presented at the 2013 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting.

Nausea drug can kill brain tumours

Scientists have discovered that the growth of brain tumours can be halted by a drug currently used to help patients recover from chemotherapy-induced nausea.

New research from the University of Adelaide looked at the relationship between brain tumours and a peptide associated with inflammation in the brain, called "substance P".

Substance P is commonly released throughout the body by the nervous system, and contributes to tissue swelling following injury. In the brain, levels of substance P greatly increase after traumatic brain injury and stroke.

"Researchers have known for some time that levels of substance P are also greatly increased in different tumour types around the body. We wanted to see if we could stop tumour growth by blocking substance P," said Dr Elizabeth Harford-Wright, a postdoctoral fellow in the University's Adelaide Centre for Neuroscience Research..

Indian bitter gourd may hold cure for neck cancer cells

An Indian origin scientist has received a 39,42-dollar grant from the Lottie Caroline Hardy Charitable Trust to continue her research on treating cancer with an extract from bitter melon, a vegetable common in India and known as 'karela' in Hindi.

Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Saint Louis University, is studying the effect of the extract from the vegetable, which is often used in Indian and Chinese cooking, on head and neck cancer cells.

Ray studies using bitter melon extract to prevent or treat cancer by thwarting the spread of cancer cells. In a controlled lab setting, she previously found that bitter melon extract activated a pathway that triggered the death of breast cancer cells, stopping them from growing and spreading. The effectiveness of using bitter melon extract to treat breast cancer in people has not been tested.

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