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Diabetes doubles risk of strokes in patients

A new study has revealed that people with diabetes have a 73 percent higher chance of being admitted to a hospital for heart failure than general population.

The study conducted on more than two million people with diabetes also suggested that diabetics are 38 percent more likely to die early, News.com.au reported.

The National Diabetes Audit, which covers England and Wales, also found that diabetics admitted to hospital for heart failure had more than quadruple the odds of dying in the following year compared to the general population.

The audit found the risk of premature death among diabetics was much higher in 2012 than would normally be expected.

Exposure to pesticides leads to Parkinson’s disease risk

Researchers have found that genetic mutation combined with exposure to pesticides increases risk of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, by killing dopamine-containing neurons.

Senior author of the study, Stuart Lipton from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute said that his team used human stem cells derived from Parkinson’s disease patients to show that genetic mutation and pesticides create a ‘double hit’ scenario, producing free radicals in neurons that disable specific molecular pathways that cause nerve-cell death.

In the study, Lipton, along with Rajesh Ambasudhan, assistant professor and Rudolf Jaenisch, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, used skin cells from Parkinson’s patients that had a mutation in the gene encoding a protein called alpha-synuclein.

Alpha-synuclein is the primary protein found in Lewy bodies, protein clumps that are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

Using patient skin cells, the researchers created human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) containing the mutation, and then “corrected” the alpha-synuclein mutation in other cells.

Next, they reprogrammed all of these cells to become the specific type of nerve cell that is damaged in Parkinson’s disease, called A9 dopamine-containing neurons, thus creating two sets of neurons, identical in every respect except for the alpha-synuclein mutation.

 Frank Soldner, research scientist in Jaenisch’s lab and co-author of the study, said that exposing both normal and mutant neurons to pesticides, including paraquat, maneb and rotenone, created excessive free radicals in cells with the mutation, causing damage to dopamine-containing neurons that led to cell death.

Corals could hold key to bone grafting procedures

A new research suggests that sea corals could soon be used more extensively in bone grafting procedures.

By partially converting calcium carbonate?found in the exoskeleton of sea coral?into coralline hydroxyapatite (CHA), the refined material, called coralline hydroxyapatite/calcium carbonate (CHACC), has been shown to ‘considerably improve’ the outcome of bone grafts in 16 patients.

The results of the small clinical study showed that bone healing was observed in each of the patients after four months and that the CHACC had fully biodegraded after two years.
CHA derived from sea coral has been used for many years as a successful bone graft material; however, its use has been limited to specific bones because it does not fully biodegrade.

“Our methods have considerably improved the outcome of bone grafts by using the partial conversion technique, in which the biodegradable composition from natural coral is reserved. It works in a very similar way to commercially available CHA for conductive bone regeneration, but the better biodegradation properties are compatible with the host tissue’s natural bone turnover process,” corresponding author of the research Zhidao Xia from Swansea University said.

“When biomaterials do not biodegrade and remain in skeletal tissue, they may continuously cause problems in the host. In extreme conditions, it is possible that the different mechanical properties of the artificial bone graft may cause a re-fracture or become a source for bacterium growth in infection,” Xia said.

CHACC could become a promising alternative to an autograft, which uses pieces of bone from another part of the patient’s body to regrow new bone in the injured area. Besides only having a limited stock, an autograft can cause discomfort, pain and long-term impairment in the area that the bone is taken from.

In their study, the researchers, from the UK and China, harvested sea coral from South China and partially converted the calcium carbonate into CHA to form CHACC. According to the paper, the CHACC composition, which contains 15 per cent of CHA in a thin layer around the calcium carbonate, has the strong, porous structure that has made CHA commercially successful.

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