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Boy’s stem cells treat cerebral palsy

Doctors have been able to successfully treat a 2.5-year-old boy who had suffered from cardiac arrest and brain damage, putting him in a vegetative state, using his own cord blood containing stem cells.

The symptoms improved significantly; over the following months, the child learned to speak simple sentences and to move.

"Our findings, along with those from a Korean study, dispel the long-held doubts about the effectiveness of the new therapy", says Dr. Arne Jensen of the Campus Clinic Gynaecology. Together with his colleague Prof. Dr. Eckard Hamelmann of the Department of Paediatrics at the Catholic Hospital Bochum (University Clinic of the RUB), he reports in the journal "Case Reports in Transplantation".

At the end of November 2008, the child suffered from cardiac arrest with severe brain damage and was subsequently in a persistent vegetative state with his body paralysed. Up to now, there has been no treatment for the cause of what is known as infantile cerebral palsy.

 After the cord blood therapy, the patient, however, recovered relatively quickly. Within two months, the spasticity decreased significantly. He was able to see, sit, smile, and to speak simple words again.

Forty months after treatment, the child was able to eat independently, walk with assistance, and form four-word sentences.

Secrets behind itching revealed

 Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report have discovered that a small molecule released in the spinal cord of a mouse triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as the sensation of itch.

The small molecule, called natriuretic polypeptide b (Nppb), streams ahead and selectively plugs into a specific nerve cell in the spinal cord, which sends the signal onward through the central nervous system.

When Nppb or its nerve cell was removed, mice stopped scratching at a broad array of itch-inducing substances. The signal wasn’t going through.
Because the nervous systems of mice and humans are similar, the scientists said a comparable biocircuit for itch likely is present in people.

If correct, this start switch would provide a natural place to look for unique molecules that can be targeted with drugs to turn off the sensation more efficiently in the millions of people with chronic itch conditions, such eczema and psoriasis.

Turn off technology before bedtime for sound sleep

Using your tablet or smartphone before bed can suppress quality sleep, thus putting you at risk for health problems, a new study suggests.

If you want to improve your sleep, researchers advise shutting off your tablet well before bedtime.

Nighttime exposure to LED rays illuminating from tablets, computers, TVs, and smartphones can disrupt your body's natural rhythms, and raise your risk for not only sleep loss but health problems, the report said.

Artificial light can prevent quality sleep by slowing the activity of neurons that induce sleep, activating those for wakefulness, and suppressing the sleep hormone melatonin, the New York Daily News reported.

“Technology has effectively decoupled us from the natural 24-hour day to which our bodies evolved, driving us to go to bed later,” lead author Dr. Charles Czeisler, of Harvard Medical School, wrote.

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